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Erin MacQuarrie is a Habitat volunteer who supported our work in Romania by travelling on a Youth Build team in 2018. This Advent she reflects on the example of the Romanian people and the importance of our neighbours.

Advent can be a stressful time of year with people rushing around trying to find the perfect gift, trying to arrange the perfect seating plan so the whole family gets along and trying to have the most lit up, well decorated house in the neighbourhood. 

But what if we all took a step back from the busyness that advent can be and get our priorities straight? Is having the most decorated house really going to change your Christmas? Is there really such thing as the perfect present, or will it just be another item that can be added to the “stuff” in our homes?

Last summer I had the privilege of travelling to Romania with Habitat for Humanity’s Youth Build. One of the things that really struck me when I was there was that people spent hours standing outside their homes talking to their neighbours. They weren’t worrying about who was sitting where or if their doormat was siting perfectly. Instead they were just enjoying being in each other’s company. 

Through the story of Mary and Martha told in Luke’s gospel. Jesus sets us the challenge to get our priorities straight and focus on what is really important in life. “My dear Martha you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it and it will not be taken away from her.”

Instead of rushing around trying to have things perfect like Martha was. Jesus teaches that we should be like Mary and focus on him because he “can not be taken away”

So this advent season why not set yourself the challenge to focus on the important things in life and enjoy them, instead of trying to make everything perfect. Like the example the Romanian people showed me, enjoy simply being with your loved ones. And enjoy spending time in Jesus’ presence like Mary was. Make time for the person who Christmas is all about!


Lord we thank you for sending Jesus at Christmas. Thank you that we have families and loved ones to enjoy Christmas with. We pray that this Advent and Christmas season we won't get so caught up in the busyness of everything that we forget you and don’t make time to spend with you.

Lord, we pray that you would help us to realise what is important and that we would enjoy these things instead of worrying about the things that won’t matter come the 27th December. Thank you for the work that Habitat is doing across the globe and the lives that are being transformed through it. We pray for every person who has been impacted by Habitat: home owners, volunteers, donors, staff and builders. Thank you for them and bless them and their families this Christmas. Amen.

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Read more Advent reflections here.

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