As children, we learned to cross the street safely with the instructions, "Stop, look, and listen." As adults, we learned -- usually the hard way -- that these instructions applied well to most things we do. When I am honest with myself, I recognize that I was better at following these instructions as a child. Often, as an adult, I forge ahead on something without stopping, perhaps with a but quick glance and only half an ear. It is only by the grace of God that I am still here to admit this!
Back in December, it was pretty dark in the northern hemisphere. Christians were lighting Advent candles; Jews were lighting menorahs; and then the Light of the World was born. That Light -- Jesus -- brightened into the nations of the world -- it brightened into the Light no darkness can overcome. Light is something we see, but often take for granted. It is good to stop and appreciate the light as the days lengthen. it is good to stop and give thanks for the Light.
Lent is a season for such stopping --not only to see Jesus, the Light of the world, but also to listen to him. There are days -- I confess -- when there is so much on my to-do list, so many details in my head, that I do not stop to listen to God. I confuse my lists with God's will and think that by getting it all done, I have done what God wants. When I stop to listen to God, however, I often discover that what God wants of me is very different. Lent is a time to stop and listen to God, and in listening, to rearrange all sorts of priorities.
Stop. Look. Listen. God will renew your life.