“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.”
You can’t fool her, you know.
Two pudgy hands cup your cheeks to turn your face, demanding your eyes look deep into her own.
“Mama, you’re not listening!” You can almost feel her heart stomping its tiny imaginary foot to accentuate the point.
Of course, you’re right when you insist, “Yes I am, honey, I can just do two things at once.” You did hear her, after all.
But she’s right (more right?) because you weren’t listening.
Hearing requires only ears. Listening demands ears, eyes, mind, and maybe most important, heart.
The difference matters. A lot. Here’s why:
Your children don’t just notice the difference between hearing and listening, they understand the difference:
Something else is more important than them in that moment.
O u c h!
This isn’t confined to children; don’t we all hate it when we know someone is only half engaged in conversation? Present in body but absent in thought?
I grow weary from all the admonitions to focus on Christ during the Christmas season, to resist holiday busyness. Please don’t get me wrong — I agree with that! — but then I see a believing people tangled and lifeless in sticky-webs of shopping, baking, parties, and school or church programs.
We are distracted.
Everyone is working extra hard to pay for All The Things.
And though our homes have never looked more lovely or smelled more delicious . . .
Our actions are speaking loudly, and they don’t always match up to our words.
Can I get an “Amen!“?
God incarnated man becoming fully present with us to experience life as we know it. He felt the love of his mother’s touch, He learned a craft at the side of his father, He celebrated marriage, and He cried from personal loss. He looked His friends and followers square and gave them His complete attention, regardless of the demands placed on Him and distractions associated with circumstance.
Jesus was fully present with His family and followers. Jesus is fully present with His family and followers.
And so, sweet lovies, might I suggest a Christmas gift you can give your family and friends this year? Something inexpensive but absolutely priceless?
Your undivided attention.
Active listening instead of passive hearing.
Being fully present when you’re with them.
Close your laptop when they walk into the room. Do not look at your cell phone for any reason; I promise 99.99% of the time, that notification can wait. Be available to the people who need you. Be still with the people you love!
I never saw this more clearly than when I was a mom to a high school senior — you don’t have much time.
You — being fully present, sharing tea or dinner or reading aloud or over a game of Candyland — is the loveliest of all gifts to give and receive.
What are the holiday trappings that threaten to divide your attention or make you hard of hearing (listening)? Have you unintentionally ignored your family or friends while readying for Christmas? What are your suggestions for meaningfully engaging those you love?