Making Room: Despite Chaos and Clutter

by Emily Gibson

…Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:39-42)



When he addresses her, Jesus says her name twice. “Martha, Martha.” The repetition of a person’s name in Semitic language was a term of endearment. Jesus was pleading with her, not scolding her as if she were some sort of rebel. “Martha, Martha” is Jesus’ gesture of compassion and kindness to Martha, and also to us.

Martha, Martha…

…before you try to change the world, you must first let me change you.
…before you make your mark on others, you must first let me make my mark on you.
…before you get busy to make things better, you must first let me make you better.
…before you can serve and feed me, you must first let me serve and feed you.

You see, Martha’s affliction is not that she is a busy-body. Her affliction is that she has a busy heart. She is distracted with much serving, and because of this, her very legitimate, life-giving diaconal service is spoiled. She is working from a chaotic center. She is seeking to create order from a cluttered core. She is so busied with and distracted by secondary things, that she has lost touch with the first thing—which is the love that brought her into friendship with Jesus in the first place.
~Pastor Scott Sauls from “Jesus and Performance Fatigue”





Oh, if I had been the innkeeper’s wife that night in Bethlehem when the umpteenth person knocked on our door wondering if there was room to let when we were full up,
I would have noticed how pregnant she was and how nervous he was and how tired they were and
I would have made up a bed for them right then and there out in the stable.
I would have brought out some warm bread and something to quench their thirst.
I would have swept the stone floor and moved the animals to another stall and
I would have checked in on them every now and then because it looked like her time was close in case she needed help.
I would have cooked up extra to bring out to them and I would have brought them some strips of cloth to wrap that baby in and
I would have fussed at all the grime and dust tracked in by the shepherds who came in droves to visit them.

In other words, I would have been there with the Lord right under my nose, even after making a spot for him to be born, and I still wouldn’t have made room for him.
Gave him space, gave him help, gave him food, gave him time, gave him a clean spot to rest — yet none of this is making room.

Give him my heart.  That’s what he asks for, even in the midst of chaos and clutter.
He just wants me.

And that, that…
is hardest of all to give.






Unnumbered Blessings

Mary’s Song from Luke 1

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his word;
in God my Savior shall my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his Name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age to same;
his holy Name–the Lord, the Mighty One.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by.
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children’s children and for evermore!
~Timothy Dudley Smith 1962


Mary’s life was turned upside down by the news she received and she sings out her acceptance of her part to play in bringing God down to His people.
Her words reflect the upending of the way things had been.
Instead, Jesus is the King who will be unlike any other,
coming from the most humble of women and circumstances,
owning nothing,
knowing richness by giving Himself away.
He conquers by showing mercy:
our hearts and souls are saved through His death,
not by the deaths of enemies.
He keeps God’s promises:
He is the covenant with Abraham fulfilled.
Tell out, each of us, from the soul, the good news.
We are given voice by His unnumbered blessings.

~Emily Gibson


“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”
Luke 1:46-55

As a Mother Comforts

Isaiah 66:13–As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.

Even the most grown up of adults needs a mom again when times get rough — we need someone who loves us no matter what, who knows exactly what to say, what to do,  and how to make things feel better.  Even Jesus, God Incarnate on earth, needed a mother.  The one God chose, Mary,  stood by Him through his tough times of being rejected by men, even to the end of His life.  As He was lifted from the cross she likely received Him into her arms once again, cradling Him just as she had when He was born and needed her loving comfort.

God knows His Son needed the comforting of a mother, as do we.

And so a young woman became His mother that holy night.

E. Gibson