Have a “Mary” Christmas (More sitting, less stressing!)

how to relieve stress over the holidays

“Martha, Martha, you are worried about many things. But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:41-42, emphasis added).

Welcome to my world. I’m hosting Christmas for oodles of beloved family members, and the Martha in me wants to show my love by making everyone else’s Christmas perfect: Decorations? Check. Clean house? Check. Gourmet food? Check. (“Sort of. Wait. Let me run into the kitchen to prep a few things . . . I’ll be back in five hours.”)

But you know . . . the clean house, and gourmet food, and Pinterest-worthy Christmas decorations, aren’t what’s most important for our family holiday. A great holiday is about time spent together, about laughing so hard you snort egg nog through your nose, about the light of magic shining in our children’s eyes. So I hope you’ll join me in taking Jesus’ gentle words to Martha to heart this holiday season. Let’s “choose what is better.”

And what did Mary choose? She chose to be present. To be engaged. To be with—fully with—the people who had come into her home. To spend time sitting at the feet of the Lord, listening and learning. That’s what makes the holidays great. That’s what is “better.” So won’t you join me?

Let the dishes soak a little longer.

Let the pine needles rest on the carpet a little longer.

Let the meals be a little simpler.

Let’s just be there with the people—and the Lord—we love.

That, my friends, is better. That’s BEST. And Jesus will not take it away from us!

Merry Christmas to you and yours, from the Thompson Crazies! (Here’s hoping we don’t actually GO crazy.)

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Author: Elizabeth Laing Thompson VIEW ALL AUTHORS POSTS

Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.


  • Geri Laing December 22, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    THIS is a great one!!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson December 23, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Thanks, Mom! Can’t wait to have you here! 😀

  • Aferdita Lalaj December 22, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you, true and helpful 🙂

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson December 23, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Merry Christmas!

  • Tanya Guinn December 23, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Thank You Elizabeth! I appreciate you sharing spiritual wisdom, funny stories and heartfelt inspiration…so good for us & love to share!! Mary Christmas from our family to yours! The Guinn’s, Maielli’s & Moore’s

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson December 23, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Thanks so much, Tanya! Your family has so many wonderful things to celebrate this year! Congratulations!

  • Sherry Nader December 23, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I love this Elizabeth! A very Merry Christmas to you and your family. We love you and miss you!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson December 24, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Thank you, Sherry! Love and miss you too! Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

  • Whitney Hsu December 24, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I’m trying SO HARD. Really. And maybe that’s why I’m failing. Christmas with three tinies and a lot of family is tough. But Mary Christmas and may it be a good one for all of us.

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson December 24, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Oh my goodness, Whitney, I know the feeling! There is just SO MUCH TO DO with little ones underfoot. (But I am sure you are doing better than you THINK you are!) I think if we at least have that Mary voice in our head, we’ll find some moments to slow down in spite of all the things that have to be done to pull off Christmas. I tell you, I appreciate my mom SO MUCH MORE now that I’m the mom at Christmas! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

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