Advent is a season of waiting.
Christ came to earth once and promises to return again and that is the promise in which we anticipate fulfillment. One of the joys of life with Jesus is that in our waiting, we get to have rich, deep, intimate relationship with him.
One thing God revealed to me over the past couple of years is that he is a God who not only speaks, but also listens. God heard the Israelites cry out in their slavery and delivered them from the hands of Egypt. And it's no coincidence that the words listen and obey have the same root in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. When God listens, he acts. And because God listens, we get to listen. God's voice is available and accessible to each of us if we are willing to posture ourselves to hear.
One of my favorite listening exercises is called Immanuel Listening (created by Life Model Works). In Immanuel Listening, you find a space of silence and solitude and, starting with a few deep breaths, ask the Lord to help you remember a time in the past where you felt close and connected to him. Next you take a few minutes to bring that memory back to life and remember - where were you? What did you smell? How did you feel? What were you doing? Lastly, tell the Lord one thing you appreciated about him in that moment and ask him what is one thing he appreciated about you in that moment. I've adapted this into my devotional practice this Advent and I invite you to do the same.
The listening life is a life worth living. God wants to speak to his people as we wait for Christ to return. "Let anyone who has ears listen" (Matthew 11:15).
Associate Director at The Center for Faith & Leadership, UMW