Do You Hear What I Hear? has always been one of my favorite Christmas Carols. I love the soft, gentle notes as they draw out the words:” Do you hear what I hear?” I melt as the violins respond: “A song, a song high above the trees with a voice as big as the sea.” I love this Carol because it is about listening, hearing the sounds of night. The words challenge the heart to hear and know truth. The theme calls us to recognize that moment when truth manifests itself before us. My friend Jane and her husband Bob told me a story about listening. I’m so inspired by it that I want to share it with you.
Jane was happy to share with me about the wisdom she gleaned from a man who mentored his children in a quiet time each day. His example stressed the importance of sitting quietly, listening to what he called the song of the heart. How many of us listen? How many of us teach our children and grandchildren to stop and listen?
A few years ago Jane and Bob initiated a rest time with their grandchildren. Each year, they go spend time in the summer with them. Following the hectic morning activities, they usually set aside a time in the afternoon to rest. They call it their quiet time, Bob told me that he wished he could have told me that they started having quite time for noble reasons, but he confessed it was out necessity. He started doing it when he found himself tired and needing to regain some strength, he did it for himself. Now it has become a tradition.
Jane and Bob’s story, includes a message for us to take to heart. During an extended visit, she decided to try a quiet time with her grandchildren. After she picked them up at school, she parked the car underneath an oak tree, rolled the window down, and told them, “Now we are going to so something really fun. We are going to have quiet time and listen.”
Expectantly their faces lighted up in anticipation. She explained the plan, and wouldn’t you know it, as soon as she stopped talking, a train went by. They listened. They clearly heard the whistle, the wheels as they clattered on the track, the sounds of the cars clanging together. The children were amazed and excited. When quiet time was over, they had much to talk about.
The next day they tried it again. This time they heard a bird signing and leaves rustling as the wind blew through the trees. About two days later, Jennifer, age four, awoke, Jennifer explained, “I miss my mommy.” Jane asked her what could be done. “I need a quiet time for a few minutes,” Jennifer replied, “so I can miss her.”
Jane left the room. A few minutes later, Jennifer came down the hall. “I’m done,” she said. Something happened in those few minutes. In the way of a child, Jennifer listened to the song of her heart and was comforted. Perhaps she thought of her mom and her favorite memory. Maybe she cried and sucked her thumb or sang her favorite song. We don’t what transpired in those precious moments, but we like to think that she heard a still, small whisper from a loving God who said, “It is OK. I am here.”
Jane and I enjoy connecting a quiet time to a time of listening to the song of our hearts. We like the results that happen when we encourage our grandchildren to stop and listen, to regather and recenter when they have a need. We are looking forward to adopting and expanding on ways to spend quiet time with them in the future. Jane has four grandchildren and I have two and one on the way. That’s seven children that we can be quiet and listen with. Do you hear what I hear?