Friday, November 23, 2012


"An open home, an open heart,
here grows a bountiful harvest."
~Judy Hand

Mary and Martha were sisters. When Jesus showed up at their home for a visit, Martha went to work, zealously attacking everything that needed to get done. Mary, on the other hand, curled up at the feet of Jesus and soaked in every word. Martha was understandably annoyed. Why should she have to do all the work?

Martha couldn't hold in her frustration. She aired her complaints to Jesus. Then she told him to straighten her sister out. But his response to the scenario involved a gentle rebuke for Martha. "Mary has made the better choice," he explained. "I won't deny her simply because you've chosen the busier path."

Gulp... These words spoke volumes to me yesterday before I jumped into my hectic Thanksgiving routine. There was much for me to accomplish, but I didn't want to make the same mistake of Thanksgivings past, and allow the busyness to rob me of the "better" part of the day.

Maybe it helped that I'd just re-read a book on having a welcoming home. "Hospitality is much more about the condition of your heart than the condition of your home," wrote author Karen Ehman in her book  A Life That Says Welcome. This timely reminder nestled into my spirit like a breath of fresh air.

I still found myself knee-deep in things to do. Preparing a feast takes much concentrated effort for this old bird. And I wanted our home to be clean and inviting. But my thoughts kept wandering back to Mary and Martha, and how their day with Jesus played out so differently.

I'm not the manic Martha I used to be. But looking back, I see I could have been more engaging with my guests and less concerned with the mountains of dishes. That's okay. I did my best to keep my heart in check. The Martha in me took a back seat, and let more of my Mary take over. It's amazing the change we can see in ourselves when we sit at the feet of Jesus. And for that, I am truly thankful.

"O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness."
~William Shakespeare

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."
~W.T. Purkiser

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