“Is anybody listening?”
There is, of course, no answer.
Actually, in the deep recesses
of the house, I hear a faint voice. I
can’t quite make out what it’s saying. I ask the question again, a
little louder: “Is anybody listening?”
The voice resounds a second time
with an unqualified “No!”
Although this not-listening
phenomenon is a year-round occurrence, at
Christmas time, its implications are more pronounced. Or more frenzied.
I’ve got a lot to do. Too much
to do. There are simply not enough
days between Labor Day (isn’t that when we start to see Christmas stuff
appearing in the stores?) and December 25.
Each year I vow to take it down
a notch—and I’m not even a Christmas
fanatic. We have only one tree, and one stocking each. The lights
strung on the exterior of the house do not pose a risk to the city’s
power supply (though our electric bill does catch our checkbook’s
attention). Actually, some rooms in our house hold no evidence of the
season. Imagine that.
The trouble is, I seem to trudge
through the season alone—and nobody’s listening.
It’s not the decorations that
get to me. Or the parties, scheduling conflicts, or cookies that beg to
be baked—and eaten.
It’s the noise.
I’m not talking about cranking
up Nat King Cole or even Mannheim
Steamroller’s Christmas albums to an annoying level (Nat can never
annoy). Nor with grown kids do I have to worry about the kids getting
rowdy, their voices rising to an uncontrollable level as they pester us
about opening presents early (it’s my husband who whines the loudest
now that the kids don’t do it for him). It’s not that.
The snow falls quietly, the
fireplace crackles gently, and the
visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads are calm and respectful.
It’s not an outer noise that
bothers me. It’s my inner noise.
I find my mind too busy with
I-should-dos and had-better-hurrys that
I forget to listen to the season. The reason for the season.
must get frustrated, looking down on all
this celebration that has turned increasingly off track. “Excuse me,”
He might say. “I said, excuse me!” But we can’t
hear Him over the din of our cluttered minds and hearts.
Finally He pushes himself into
the middle of our lives and yells, “Is anybody listening?”
Do we answer? Do we respond with
a cocky “No!”?
Or do we stop what we’re doing,
get down on our knees, and say, “Yes, Lord. Forgive me. I’m here, and I
Only then, when He’s finally
gotten our full attention, can He tell
us His wonderful news: “Behold, my son is born! Listen to Him!”
Only then, with our hearts and
minds poised with reverent anticipation, can it happen . . .
Shh . . . listen . . . There! Do you hear it? Do you hear Him coming?
And the angel said
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:10−11 (KJV)