Tension During Advent?

Advent can bring the inner Martha out of me. Despite my best intentions to be more Mary-like during this time, there is just so much to do - gifts to buy and wrap, cards to sign and send, house to clean and decorate, cookies to bake...

I think many of us mommies have many of Martha's qualities; after all, she is a do-er, a server, perhaps even a tinge of a control freak. If I ever thought that I had only a little bit of Martha in me, Claire McGarry's book Grace in Tension helped me to admit otherwise. I have a lot of Martha in me!

Oh well, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. The second step may very well be to buy Claire's book.

Please do not think that Claire picks on us Marthas. She admits to being a Martha herself. As Claire points out, it is not Martha's qualities and servant heart that bring about her correction by our Lord, but her attitude and disposition.

In other words, buying gifts, decorating our homes, and sending cards are all appropriate ways to celebrate Advent. It is how we do it, though. In her book, Claire shows us how to set boundaries for ourselves, trim back on the extras, and ask for and accept help. Ultimately, she guides us to sit at Jesus' feet, like Mary, where we can be attentive and hear Him speak to us.