The first time Craig Melvin visited the small-town western Pennsylvania “homestead” of his future wife, Lindsay Czarniak, he was taken aback by her family’s Christmas Day tradition.
“At the end of the meal, they were like, ‘Oh, it’s time to sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ ” recalls Melvin, an MSNBC anchor who hosts “MSNBC Live” and co-hosts “Today” on Saturdays. “I thought it was a joke, but lo and behold, they went and got baby Jesus out of the manger and we sang ‘Happy Birthday.’ ”
I have been thinking about Mary and Martha lately.
You know the story: Martha is the sister who “complained to Jesus” and Mary is the sister who choose the better part, as Jesus explains. I have always hated that pericope. I guess because in my mind, Martha was the responsible oldest sister. She was the one accountable for getting the house ready for Jesus.
Can you imagine the preparations?!
The cleaning, the cooking, the landscaping, the washing…all the things needed for a guest to feel comfortable in one’s home. As an oldest daughter, I totally identified with Martha and totally understood why she asked Jesus–in sheer frustration–to get Mary to help her with the work, instead of entertaining Jesus. And for the longest time, I felt that Jesus was wrong to chide Martha. Couldn’t He see how she was trying to show her love for Him? I thought, it’s easy for people to hang out all day but when dinnertime comes and there’s nothing to eat and you’re sleeping on dirty sheets, I bet you’d appreciate Martha then…