Holiday Dinner Table

This Is Your Sign to Simplify This Holiday Season

Holidays may tempt us to prioritize the wrong things. This year, avoid being “cumbered” by elaborate preparations and save room for the Savior.

In Luke 10:38–42, Jesus Christ visits the home of two sisters—Mary and Martha. While Mary sits at Christ’s feet listening to his teachings, Martha is preparing a meal for their unexpected but important guest. 

“Do we spend more time planning and executing a lavish Sunday dinner for family members than we do studying the scriptures that day?” —Evelyn T. Marshall

Photo by Victoria Shes

A common interpretation among Christians is that Mary was spiritual while Martha was more practical, which seemingly earned Martha this rebuke from the Master after she requested Mary’s help to serve the meal: “Martha, Martha, thou art [worried] and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

However, in the Ensign article “Mary and Martha: Faithful Sisters, Devoted Disciples,” Sister Evelyn T. Marshall addresses this view as a misunderstanding. She teaches that preparing meals isn’t wrong—being anxiously engaged in service isn’t wrong and asking for help isn’t wrong; rather, Christ’s rebuke addresses a question of priorities. Sister Marshall explains that “special meals can become too complicated if we spend hours frosting the petit fours instead of planning more simply-prepared food.” She asks the question, “Do we spend more time planning and executing a lavish Sunday dinner for family members than we do studying the scriptures that day?”

During this holiday season, consider your priorities, and evaluate how you are spending your time. Identify the unique, spiritual, and eternal opportunities (those “which shall not be taken away”) that you have missed out on, and invite the Savior, his simplicity, and his spirit into your home.

Read More

Consider reading Sister Evelyn T. Marshall’s full article to help you simplify your holiday celebrations (and life) and better understand how both Martha’s and Mary’s tendencies can be appreciated by the Savior.


Abby Forrest, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Learn how to prioritize a lot of good choices by reading President Dallin H. Oaks’s general conference address “Good, Better, Best.”

Read about how to encourage the Spirit to be present in your home during the busy Christmas season in “Searching for the Spirit of Christmas,” another Latter-day Saint Insights article.

Discover more insights about the attribute of simplicity in Elder L. Tom Perry’s Ensign article “Let Him Do It with Simplicity.”

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