Do You Hear What I Hear?

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!

photo:Advent devotions

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.

Nativity via Netflix movies

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.

Patiently Waiting

The last two days on my route to work, I encountered a sight that I thought I would share about and how it lead to this week’s muse. On the corner of the intersection where I turn down the street, was an attractive young woman dressed in a turquoise jumpsuit with matching coloured Covid mask. Her jet black hair was long and hung straight down passed her waist. The first day I saw her, she was crossing the street in front of my car and I simply thought she was thoroughly enjoying her music as she bopped across the intersection in her earbuds. Yet, her animations were a bit too boisterous not to be noticed. As she neared the corner of the sidewalk, she raised her hands and began pointing and waving at passing cars like some pro wrestler entering the arena for the heavyweight championship. Her smile was wide and whatever the words were to the song, I was unknowing, but I couldn’t help but smile at her exuberance.

I’d like to imagine she was praising the Lord — bopping to some upbeat worship tune and just couldn’t help but share His love with the passing cars. More than likely she was fighting the voices in her head, and lived with some issue that perhaps lead to her bewildered actions, which is sad, but it made me think: am I that excited about life and the people God puts before me?! So much so, that I would share my story (or simply my praises) with passing vehicles? Without a care or thought to what the rest of the world might think of my mental stability?

Photo: Jay Clark (Unsplash)

I had to attend jury duty this past week, which was an experience in itself in this post Covid-19 world. The venues had to be increased from the simple courtroom holding spaces to convention centers to allow for “social distancing” of the potential jurors. There were about five waiting rooms with about 45 people in each… seated 2 metres apart in single rows of chairs. Each with faces covered in masks, each attending to their own worlds of reading materials, laptops and cell phone messages. No one talked, no one smiled at each other. No one barely looked past the back of the person’s head in front of them. We simply existed, shuffled about like ticketed cattle, waiting for our number to be called (or praying it doesn’t get called). It was all very odd.

Each of these two scenarios had me wondering about the people in my world. My neighbourhoods and the people I come into “contact” with everyday. 2 Peter 3:9 says this:

 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

NIV

The full chapter describes the “Day of the Lord” — His return to earth. I am to be anticipating His return, yet anxiously sharing the good news, so that “everyone shall come to repentance”. I’m afraid I do a miserable job. I may giggle and ponder at the exuberance of those who are gifted in evangelism… sharing their faith at street corners. I may contemplate the sheer volume of the population “still to be saved”. I send my gifts to those who devote their lives to the cause, both at home and overseas. The truth is, it only takes one to win one. To simply tell my story, and let God do the rest. It’s not my job to change hearts. It’s not my job to turn lives around or fix the broken. He’s merely waiting patiently for me to open the door for someone. I’m slightly convicted. What’s my excuse? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment about how you share your faith! Motivate me, so the Lord doesn’t have to be so patient!