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.