2019 Advent Devo: Just Listen

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”

“When is he coming? How much longer must we wait?”

“Has he forgotten us?”

“What will he bring?”

I don’t know about you, but my brothers and I asked these questions every year as Christmas approached. And my children asked them every year and now my grandchildren ask them every year. Oh the anticipation of something wonderful that is going to happen!

For a moment, try to put yourself in the place of those who actually lived before that first Christmas. They had been waiting and anticipating the arrival of Jesus the Messiah for 400+ years. I suspect their questions mirrored our own Christmas questions.

When is he coming? How much longer must we wait?

Has he forgotten us?

 What will he bring?

When Jesus finally arrived as promised and later began to fulfill his mission to proclaim the “good news of the kingdom of God” (Lk 8:1) the responses to his message were as individualized as the ones who heard him teaching. In Luke 8:4-10, Jesus shares a parable that gives insight into the “why” of the various responses and exhorts “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (v. 8) As I doubt the audience was comprised of those with hearing problems, what exactly did Jesus mean by that? From the text, we hear his disciples ask him that very question. Jesus’ response is timeless and echoes through the ages resounding in our ears today—if we just listen.

Four types of soil representing four types of hearts are scattered with seed which is the “word of God”. Only one produces a crop. Jesus explains that “the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15).

It is obvious that Jesus is not talking about the hearing we do with our ears, but the hearing we do with our hearts. And when we hear with our hearts, Jesus changes us and, in that transformation, we persevere and share that same “good news of the kingdom of God.”

I pray that God will continue to teach me to listen with my heart open to Him and to persevere in Jesus’ mission to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to everyone I meet. May we all honor him together with our listening hearts.

You are loved!
Sharon Cooke