No official post this week… taking a quick holiday! But come back next week when I will reveal my #wordoftheyear for 2022! Be blessed my friends!
Do You Hear What I Hear? is one of the many Christmas carols I like (especially the Bing Crosby version). And it’s what I have been musing about this week before Christmas! (okay and panicking that I have absolutely nothing ready yet!). Musing, not about Christmas carols exactly, but the sounds of the season. And there are lots of them. Now, I am easily distracted by sounds. When I need to focus, I prefer to work in silence. I don’t like the radio on or background noise or chatty partners. Obviously, not everyone is like me. I know some of you prefer to have the TV on or white noise… and that’s fine. The hubby has been listening to some neat relaxation sounds before bed. One of the kids is a big background noise kind of guy. Noise is all around us. Sounds are there, even when we are not listening… they say that the earth itself groans from within… and I believe it! God reminds us that the rocks will cry out in praise if we don’t!
So, let’s think about that very first “silent” night. Have you ever been in a room with a woman in labour? Have you anticipated the first cry of a newborn? Do you feel the emotions behind even those two simple sounds? Think about the sounds of a stable… crunching of hay, cows and goats and chickens. It’s messy and loud and not very nurturing. How about a nervous teenage Joseph pacing back and forth in the puddles. Perhaps he was a nervous foot-stomper or staff tapper. Annoyingly tap tapping as Mary focused on breathing… and then the crying and cooing and lip-smacking sounds of baby Jesus’ first meal here on earth. That cave was far from silent.
Then…oh then… let’s chat about those poor shepherds. Most of them were probably very used to the sounds of sheep and the wind whipping through the plains on a cool night. Some of them probably were able to doze off, lulled by the familiar braying and bleating. Imagine the wake up call that a multitude of angels made to their slumber?! Have you ever been to a really good concert where you can literally feel the music pound in your heart? Or a soloist who’s voice sends shivers down your spine? Imagine both at the same time. Plus the sights! Hark the angels, indeed. Can you imagine the gutteral chatter (and spitting?) of ancient middle eastern men telling the most amazing story ever told? Did they cluck cluck at the baby when they finally got to see Him up close? That picture makes me giggle.
What about Mary? What did the God of the Universe sound like in her ear when He declared that she was the one? What about you, my friend? When is the last time you heard God say “You are the one I love.” “You are the one I have called for this task.” And it’s not about the angel-come-down-from-Heaven chats either. Sometimes it’s that still, sweet whisper in the middle of the darkest night. It’s about hearing from God in the everyday moments. The kind gestures, the smile of some little kid, the wrinkles in the elderly person’s hand as you tuck it under the blanket. The bird song. The crack of ice on the lake or crunch of snow under your (newly installed, wink wink) snow tires as you rush out to do last minute Christmas shopping.
Have you taken time to listen and ask the question: “What does my life sound like right now?” Is there an ebb and flow to the things you hear to the sounds you’re producing? As I am sitting here editing, a siren is going off across the street. A stark reminder to me that I may be the only one who tells the real Christmas story to my neighbours… just in time. Do you Hear what I hear? It’s more than a Christmas carol, my friend, it is an invitation.
Greetings, my friends! The tree is up and cookies are baked… I am behind in my shopping but the Christmas season is upon us, whether I am ready or not. It’s the third week of Advent… Joy according to my list. Let’s have a chat about that word, shall we? Joy. I loved this post we did about Joy in Photographs… and I’m always interested in seeing what brings different people joy. I love that we are all uniquely wired and have our own individual things that spark that joy within our hearts. (check out this post).
I delved into a little e-book this week (thanks @studygateway.com) that has helped me organize this post; I hope that it enlightens you as much as it did me.
How many times have you been overjoyed at light? Our dog starts bouncing up and down everytime a set of carlights round the corner. As does my momma’s heart when the headlights pull in the driveway after a late night or a snow storm. Or how about securing your fears with the flick of a switch in the middle of the night, or that toddler’s fears about monsters under the bed? Of all the ways God could have signaled the coming of His son, He chose to light up the night with the brightest of stars. One so bright, that the wisest men on Earth had to take notice. “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Matthew 2:10
What is good news unless it is shared? Why do you think social media is such a big hit in our society? We just love to share things! How many of us could barely contain the secret of a new baby on it’s way or an engagement announcement? Joyful news is meant to be shared! We were designed to interact. Our stories tell the good news and spread it’s joy! “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20
The Joy of Making Room
Most of us have way to much stuff. Our closets, our pantrys, our garages, our basements are filled to the brim with gizmos and gadgets that are unnecessary. Yet many of our neighbours will go hungry or alone this Christmas season. If we all made a little room at the dinner table this year, do you think it would bring you as much joy as the one you serve will have? I’m all for re-gifting and sharing what we can’t use ourselves. We need to make it normalized. Sharing brings joy — not stigma! “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” John 3:11
A Legacy of Joy
Many of us consider Christmas a time for family. We travel to visit, to celebrate and to reminisce. We miss those who have passed on and recount their stories with laughter and joy. The next generation bring smiles to the faces of those of us who are reliving Christmas morning joys through them. How many of us have learned from family… both in struggle and in peace? How do you want to be remembered? As one who sparked joy or strife? It starts with our attitude for today. “The memory of one who lived with integrity brings joy…” Proverbs 10:7 (VOICE)
Joy in Jesus
Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that our only true joy comes through the babe born. None of us, not even Mary, His mother, can be saved without the baby who came to die on the cross for us. How many times have I marvelled about how do people survive this world without the Hope that Jesus brings? I know I could never do it alone. Being “good” doesn’t cut it. We all start out in the same sinful boat. Truly this is the Joy fullfilled in the advent season. “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” Luke 1:46, 47
Blessings this Joy week, my friends! Until we muse together again…