I was recently told by an audiologist who was checking my suspect hearing both good news and bad news. “You don’t have a hearing problem. You have a listening problem.” Ouch!
From the very beginning, Jesus showed Himself to be a listener. Luke records the only story of Jesus as a boy and He was listening. “They (His parents) found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:46-47). Jesus listened first, asking clarifying questions, before speaking. At twelve years old, Jesus knew the wisdom of first listening and asking questions.
Christmas is a time of friendships and family. With family in particular, we easily fall into the well-worn rut of talking at each other and never listening to one another. Consequently, we walk away with an empty feeling. We didn’t connect. We didn’t hear and we weren’t heard.
Could we take a page from the boy Jesus and be different this Christmas? Could we enter in with our loved ones committed to first listening and asking questions? Our efforts may not be reciprocated, and we have to be okay with that. But, in the listening, we might hear. We might connect. We might understand. That may be the most special part of this Christmas. We might even take this new wisdom into 2024!