December 4, 2022
advent peace

A ‘Mary’ Christmas in a Martha World

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year! Trimming the tree, sipping hot cocoa, shopping for loved ones, taking late night drives to look at Christmas lights… it’s truly the season of giving!

That’s certainly what many of us think of when we approach the holiday season. But there’s a flipside to that!  

Crowds everywhere, traffic moving like snails, planning and shopping for holiday meals with all the trimmings, dwindling bank accounts, out of town guests, visions of family and friends around the table conversing about all things politics and religion… all the things about the upcoming holiday season that you won’t see on the latest Hallmark movie! Where is the ‘Peace on Earth’ in all of this? 

According to, one of the biggest things that steal our peace through the holiday season is unmet expectations. New Life
Counseling offers very practical advice on how we can check our expectations as we approach the Christmas season.

  1. Be realistic. Consider in advance that this eason will not be a perfect one. There’s no such thing. Create realistic expectations peace1 copyand be thankful for all the good moments, realizing there may be a few bad ones in the mix.
  2. Get ahead of it. Try to plan for some of those concerns that may be occupying your mind. Plan some lighthearted icebreakers to steer the conversation away from heavier issues. Have conversations with your family and with your children about the true meaning of Christmas, in an attempt to dismiss disappointments related to gifts and gift-giving.
  3. Set healthy boundaries. In regards to time spent together with friends, family and overnight guests, consider what boundaries you may need to set. If a conversation is needed, do so firmly but seasoned with kindness.
  4. Take time for you. There’s only so much time in a day so don’t cram every moment from start to finish. Allow time to sit and take in some uplifting Christmas music or a holiday movie. Allow some quiet time for reflection in regards to the reason for the season.
  5. Talk about it. If you have specific concerns regarding a family member or friend, talk it out with them. You may find that you can alleviate some of these concerns altogether. If you have general concerns, it might be helpful to plan a time to talk with your mate or a friend or counselor. Then take time to pray over those issues and take heart in knowing that God is in control.
  6. Focus on love. Remember that at the end of the day, or at the end of the season, it’s all about spending time with those you love. 

These points regarding expectations lead perfectly to the story in Luke 10, about Mary and Martha.

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Luke 10:38-42 NIV

As the season approaches, do all you can to make it a special one. But keep in mind, that doesn’t mean going, going, going. We live in a Martha world and maybe this Christmas season is one where you can sit back, as a Mary, and take in all the blessings around you!

Take out your weekly To Do List and search for 1-2 items that can be removed. After taking those items off your list, what can you do this week to capture some Mary moments?

by Sherry Libby

Sherry LibbySherry Libby enjoys teaching Cardio Strength classes in Greencastle, PA. She is certified in Group Fitness by ACE. Her motto is “Strive for progress, not perfection“. She is a busy wife and mom to three kids ranging from middle school through college. Sherry worked for many years as a nurse but hung up her stethoscope in 2008 to be involved in ministry. She loves teaching fitness classes and is involved in the Worship and Women’s ministries at her church.