I used to know an old man who could walk by any cornfield and hear the corn singing…he was so good at listening – once he heard wildflower seeds burst open, beginning to grow underground…
Another time he heard a rock kind of murmur good things to a lizard.
I was there.
We saw the lizard sunning on a rock. Of course, we stopped. The old man said, “I wonder how that lizard feels about the rock it’s sitting on and how the rock feels about the lizard?”
He always asked himself hard questions that take awhile to answer.
This lovely and profound book for adults – disguised as a children’s book (!) – tells the story of a child learning from an elder, a way of deep listening. There’s a lot of wise instruction in this captivating story by Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall.
But what does that have to do with Advent? Lots.
It can be the difference between just going through the motions of the season or, worse yet, seeing Advent as just another thing go do in the midst of an already potentially packed month.
The other way of listening can ground us in the rich story and imagery of Advent that centers us in the meaning of the Incarnation for today.
I wonder what it would be like to listen to the stories and characters leading up to Christmas.*
I wonder what we would hear if we listened the other way to:
*Luke 1: 5-25, 26-38, 39-56, 57-80; Luke 2: 1-7, 8-20; Matthew 1: 18-25, 2: 1-12
This Advent, God awaits us on the journey, all the way to the Manger and beyond. Let’s listen… the other way.