Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Season for Listening

The holiday season is upon us. Stores prepare bright, visual displays for holiday shoppers who are eager to catch all the sales to purchase holiday treasures. Communities decorate their homes and storefronts to bring holiday cheer to neighborhoods. Florists, nurseries, and garden stores busily arrange florals, holiday accessories, and stack trees in neat rows. There is hustle, bustle, ceremonies, and events between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. 

There's magic in the air, music on the streets, holiday lists to prepare, Santas everywhere. In all the rush to bring the season to life, is there some quiet time left for listening? 

Revelation 3:20 states, 
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. 
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, 
I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 

Have you heard the call amidst the clatter and chatter? STOP to LISTEN! 

Can we make the time to reflect on what the season is really about? 
Can we UNPLUG long enough to recognize that Advent is the season for listening?

On Sunday, a visiting priest addressed the parish asking if we could find three hours in our week's schedule to join the Advent retreat. That request seemed reasonable so on Monday my son and I attended the first day of the retreat that was titled Love. I listened to the message. I heard the story of a child who responded that love is when somebody listens to you. With that statement being said, I stopped to think of all of the times I haven't found the time to listen. Being busy is not an adequate response. It is an excuse, an ego-driven phrase that needs to be removed and replaced with "I need to find the time to listen." 

Advent provides us with the time to listen to the heart. Did you ever stop to make the connection that if we take away the 't" in heart, we are left with "hear?" If we remove the "h" it becomes ear. So we need to hear the message in a way that is not being obstructed by the "bus-y-ness of life. When hearts connect, communication occurs. 

Below are the lines I lifted from the sermon that are meaningful and will frame my Advent season:
  • Listen with your heart this Advent season. 
  • Begin the listening process by listening to your self. 
  • Respect what you feel.
  • Love your neighbor, as yourself.
Is there a magic formula for success? Not really, but I did hear the priest say:

 the # of people you love=the # of people you listen to

We need to listen intently to each other this season. 
Advent calendars adorn households at Christmas time. As you open a door each day, give the gift of listening to a least one person. Imagine how many hearts you will be able to connect in the time leading up to Christmas Day when God gives us his ultimate gift of love.

Now, it is time to move over to Spiritual Journey Thursday 
where Holly Mueller has provided our topic, Advent, for us to discuss this entire month. Have a blessed start to the season for listening.

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