Sunday, December 15, 2013


I KNOW THAT IT MAY SOUND A LITTLE SELFISH, but I want to encourage you to give yourself a gift this Advent season. A gift that you can use long after the batteries in your kid’s toys wear-out, or that new sweater gets a snag or the pounds you promised yourself to lose go away. It is a gift that really will not cost you too much and it really will not take away from the gifts you desire to give to others.

What is this special, and I would add much-needed gift? It is the gift of listening. For all the non-stop information transfer that takes place in our lives, whether in the form of texting, or Facebook chatting, or FaceTime interaction on your iPhone, very little deep listening takes place. Yes, lots of interaction, lots of information streaming by you, but very little listening. Especially listening to yourself.

This Advent season give to yourself, and others around you, the gift of listening. The cost involved consists mainly of two things: time and caring. Deep listening to others, or even to yourself, will demand taking time to fully concentrate and caring enough to really hear.

Here are some ways and places to use this often unappreciated gift:
  • Take a walk in the woods, as far from road noise as possible, and listen.
  • Grab a loved one, sit down over a cup of ______ and ask them how their soul is today? (Note to self: your job is to listen, not respond or fix or suggest.
  • Open God’s Word and listen to what you read. Don’t study. Don’t analyze. Listen.
  • Grab a family photo album, peruse its pages and listen to your heart.
  • Turn on a classic piece of music, I’m talking more classic than your father, maybe Mozart, or Chopin or Haydn, and listen.
  • Find a spot, where you can be alone, and listen to your heart. Your physical and spiritual heart.

It may not seem like much of a gift, but believe me learning to listen deeply is one of the best gifts we can give, to ourselves and to others. So, listen up!

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