Advent is a time for listening.
This is the first weekend in Advent 2019. We have just finished the Thanksgiving holiday, so perhaps we are not yet fully ready to tune into the Christmas season: its music, its sights and its sounds. But, ready or not, here it comes! The gospel reading makes it pretty clear that Jesus comes whether we are ready or not. The last verse in today’s gospel reading is, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
How can we be ready? Advent is all about answering that question, the waiting, the watching the hoping and definitely, the listening.
When the wind howls outside our windows, we listen. When coyotes howl in the distance, we listen. What are the sounds that wake you up in the night, or catch your attention during the day? Some sounds bring us feelings of warmth and comfort---like a favorite song or a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night. Other sounds might cause us alarm or fear—like hail falling on the roof or the wail of an ambulance siren.
What does it mean to listen? Listening is more than just sensing a sound wave as it enters our ears, but it does start there! Our ears are incredibly sensitive instruments, which we use to turn a vibration of the air into a signal that our brains interpret as noise.
Sound travels as a wave. Even a small disturbance in the air molecules near you can be detected by your ears. The vibrating air creates a corresponding vibration of the tiny bones in your middle ear which in turn causes the fluid in your inner ear to move.
Listening is movement.
What if we listened during Advent as if this movement was the Spirit’s voice in our ears? This Advent, we could be like an old-fashioned radio receiver that captures a signal and then transmits it into something that our ears can hear. But first, we need to listen.
Listening is gathering.
Come to church at 9:00 AM on December 8, 15 and 22 for “Doodling and Devotions.” We will gather in the Fellowship Hall to learn and laugh and listen together for the sound of the Spirit’s voice. Why? Well, quite simply, a radio cannot transmit a signal when it’s not receiving one. You need to “tune in” first! Bring the kids, the grandparents, your friends and your neighbors.
Listening is living.
I am increasingly convinced that the only way to make sense of our lives is to hear God’s word in our ears. We need to hear the scriptures read aloud to us, so that we will hear and remember the promises of God. We need to sing together, pray together and worship together until what our ears hear our hearts believe.
Listen in the Silence. Listen in the noise. Listen for the Sound of the Spirit’s Voice.