Working in a modern open plan office has its pluses and minuses. The plus part is being amongst the action of a busy team; people interacting with people. The minus part is being distracted by a lot of chatter and noise without privacy or quiet work time. But over the years I have learnt to concentrate better, and can choose to create my own sense of quietness and privacy by mentally shutting out the noises I don’t want to hear.
Lately, with the boost of technical personnel sitting around me for new project work, I have noticed their interactions with the devices they bring along to perform their duties. All of these new noises contribute to the open plan office environment – like a new flavour added to a pot of stew. One person’s ringtone whistles like someone calling their dog. Another person’s phone plays a tropical Jamaican-like tune (I quite like that one). Someone else’s device has a bell pinging clearly, another one sounds like a tooting toy steam train. Throughout a typical day I hear all of these sounds and notifications calling out for their owners.
Like well-trained puppies, those who own these devices and rely on them for their work instantly stop and turn their heads. They reach out and give all of their attention to their phones, laptops, tablets, or whatever piece of technology is calling out to them: ‘Attention! Attention! You are needed. You are wanted. I have a reminder for you! I need you now!”
It occurred to me that God is a lot like these devices, you know. God has a ringtone that is so persistent but it can only be heard in the depths of our hearts. God’s ringtone is not in-your-face, but gently invites us to turn our attention to something greater. God’s ‘device’ is the invitation to stop what we are doing and truly notice how He is calling out to us: “Attention! You are needed. You are wanted. I have a reminder for you!”
But God’s reminder has nothing to do with what job we are doing, or how important we are in the eyes of the world, or how much we are paid, or the meeting coming up in our calendar, or a task deadline. His notification is simple – you are needed and wanted because He loves you. His ringtone will never tire because His battery never runs out.
Christmas Day is approaching and we will hear His ‘ringtone’ in the form of a tiny baby’s cry. The sound of little Jesus will be resonating throughout the world, but are we really listening for it? Can we truly hear Him? Or are we too caught up listening to the sounds of technology? Are our demanding lives making us deaf to Him? Are our devices drowning out the voice of Christ calling out for love from our souls, not only during this Christmas season, but throughout our days and years?
This Christmas and beyond, take some time to put away the artificial bells and whistles of your life. How is God trying to get your attention? How are you responding? Tune into the sounds of the holy infant by shutting down the noises of the world around you. Look for the baby in the hay and hold onto His little outstretched hand, inviting you to life.
God bless you all, and may you have a safe and peaceful Christmas filled with Christ’s love.