December 22, 2011

Amid the festivities of the Christmas season, take time to listen. The incarnate Word, that unambiguous and unabashed revelation of God’s desire for us to dine, to live and to love with God, stands at the door knocking. Take time to listen.
Careful listening takes time. For those of us who have deeply ingrained patterns of “overfunctioning” (e.g., being the family or other system fix-it person; doing for others what they can and ought to do for themselves, etc.), taking time for careful listening and for thoughtful responding is equated with being slothful or self-indulgent.
Because overfunctioners, many of whom are leaders in God’s church, are often groomed to be saviors, we sometimes can forget that we too are in need of a savior. Bumping up against our limitations may be a grace-filled opportunity to embrace our humanity, to remind ourselves of our need for a savior, and to open wide the door of our lives to the One who stands knocking. As Ruth Barton, spiritual director and retreat leader, notes in her book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, “We are saved from being who we are not and called to be who we are.” (p. 79).
During these twelve days of Christmas, consider taking time to listen. Listen to the Word of God in your life, marvel at the depth of God’s care for all, wonder about God’s determination to reach out– again and again – calling us by name. Then take some time to respond to God’s gracious invitation – an invitation to enter more deeply into that life-transforming relationship of love.
—Allison St. Louis, Director of Field Education and the Second Three Years Program