December 12, 2012


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 12 – Luke 8:1-15  What Kind of Hearer Are You?

This parable takes us through each kind of hearer of the Gospel. What kind of listener are you? Are you overly critical and judgmental or are you receptive and eager? Many years ago an older preacher filled in one Sunday for the pastor of my church at the time. I found him to be rather dull and immediately tuned him out. Later that evening at a youth Bible study, I made some caustic remark about him, to which one of my students very genuinely replied, “I thought his message was very good, I got a lot out of it.” Her response caught me completely off guard, and I was immediately filled with shame. I was seeking entertainment, while she was seeking to hear a word from God. I was guilty of the very thing Paul was warning us about in 2 Timothy 4:2-3. We need to discipline ourselves to be receptive and to actively listen to God’s word, regardless of the speaking skills of the messenger.


· 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?