Dear People of God,
Do you hear what I hear?
Angels we have heard on high…
Hark! The herald angels sing…
“I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10, NRSV)
Christmas time is an invitation to listen, which is so much more than hearing. To listen is to pay attention and to be attentive.
Mary heard and was attentive to the message of the angel, and acted with a resounding yes: “let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38, NRSV)
Joseph heard in a dream to take Mary as his wife, and he attentively acted on the word he heard.
The shepherds heard the angels announce the good news: “to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NRSV), and listening attentively to the words of the angelic chorus, went in haste to Bethlehem to see this thing that had happened.
Yes, to listen is to pay attention and act on the word.
Christmas is the season of listening. Christmas awakens in our hearts a renewed grace to listen and to be attentive to family and friends, our parish community, people at the beginning and the end of life, refugees and migrants, and all those who are vulnerable.
Christmas is a great opportunity to take time to listen. To listen to another’s story of joy or of sorrow is in many ways the greatest act of love. Maybe the best gift we can give this Christmas is the gift of listening.
Most Reverend Gary Gordon
Bishop of Victoria