Thursday, December 19, 2013

Third Thursday of Advent: Opportunities to Listen and Receive

“I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these tidings take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.” - Luke 1:5-25

How often do I jump to answer or react to someone, without even really listening and processing what the person is saying? This passage from Luke’s gospel is a good reminder to me about stopping and listening.  Admittedly, Zechariah just had some highly suspect information given to him by Gabriel.  Still, Zechariah was able to overcome his initial fear of the angel to respond, not with, “Who are you?” but with, “How shall I know this?”  It’s a pretty brazen statement when I think about the shock he must have initially felt.  We often do the same thing when presented with opportunity.  It’s so much easier for me to question someone else’s motives rather than listen and hear what the person is really saying to me.

Zechariah models a kind of openness to receiving the generosity of God, even without fully understanding. As we prepare for the birth of Christ, I have been asking myself how I might be more generous to others and also receptive to the generosity of others. What if I weren’t so worried about what gifts to buy, but focused on the the generosity of giving?  What if in doing so, I might also becomes more open to receiving?  Receiving without questions, but with grace, could become a powerful charism.

Am I being invited today to listen longer and more fully before responding to those around me?

How might I be more receptive, like Zechariah, to the overflowing generosity God might be offering me today?

Reflected by Rick Billups

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