December 11, 2012

Ears 

Responding to the question, “What is love?” a child responded, “Love is what you hear on Christmas morning when you stop opening presents for a moment and close your eyes and just listen.” Taking the time to stop and listen might seem like an impossible thing to do, especially during the Christmas season. Every day is filled with check-lists and an endless barrage of activities and events to attend. During this holiday season, make it a priority to stop and listen to the wonderful sounds of Christmas: children giggling with an excitement they simply cannot contain, strangers uncharacteristically greeting each other with words full of warmth and optimism, a choir singing, laughter around a dinner table, a bell ringing to remind us “it is better to give than to receive,” and the faint sound of someone sobbing behind a closed door mourning the loss of a loved one. Christmas is full of a multitude of sounds; we must take the time to listen and respond.

December 11 – 1 Kings 19:9-20  Hearing God’s Voice

How does one “listen” to God? How is it possible to hear God, especially when you are frustrated, scared, lonely, and feeling sorry for yourself? In this passage, Elijah was throwing himself quite the pity party – he was alone and in fear for his life. He had been a part of so many spectacular miracles; he was waiting for another one. When the prophet heard God’s whisper, Elijah stepped out of the cave and met the Lord, letting him know that his still small voice brings the Word to a listening ear and heart. We should not forget God often uses that which appears weak to accomplish his greatest works. When God wanted to save the world, he sent his Son as a weak and helpless baby. Dr. J. Oswald Sanders wrote: “The whispers from Calvary are infinitely more potent than the thunder of Sinai in bringing men to repentance.”

PRACTICAL CHALLENGES FOR THE WEEK:

· Ask a friend or family member to go to coffee or to share a meal this week. Make a concerted effort to listen. Ask questions about their life and their feelings and refrain from speaking about yourself when possible.

· Take time to evaluate how you have heard God’s voice in the past. If you don’t feel like you’ve had that experience, look for someone who has (family member, Bible Study member or teacher, etc.) and ask them about their experience. Spend some time in prayer asking God to speak to you in the coming days. Take time each day to sit and listen for his voice.

· For Children: What are some things you “hear” at Christmas that make you think of Jesus?