Christmas at Nursing Home – Listening With Our Eyes

 And he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.  Luke 21:2-3 ESV

Three years ago, we hadn’t met many of our neighbors yet since we had just moved in, so when I saw the teenage boy pull in the driveway across the street I called over “Hey good morning!”, hoping to strike up a conversation. Surprisingly he didn’t even turn his head to look at me, and headed into his house. I was a bit put off and grumbled about that “unfriendly boy across the street” to my wife later. Nancy paused to let me finish griping, then she said, “He’s deaf you know. He can lip read, but he had to be able to see your face.” In an instant, not only did my attitude completely change but I felt pretty silly to boot.

When ministering at nursing homes, whether for Christmas, or any other time, one of the most important things we can do is to listen with our eyes, just as my deaf neighbor would have done if He could have seen me. In this third and final installment on preparing a Nursing Home Christmas program, let’s take time to consider the value of really seeing the people we are called to serve. In the same way that deaf people lip read, we need to pay attention to people’s facial expressions and body language while we are singing, giving gifts or putting on a Nativity play. We shouldn’t just plough through our well-planned program, then announce proudly to others how loving and generous we have been. We need to watch people’s faces to see how they are responding. If someone is just staring off into space, then catch their eyes and smile. If you see those in the back, turning their heads or cupping their ears, move closer as they may not be able to hear the song. Don’t let your “Silent Night” be silent because they can’t hear the notes! Ask God for help to not only listen to the words of greeting as you shake their hands to say goodbye; but take time to see them as Jesus does. Then maybe we will hear more than people’s words. We will see them as God does when we learn to listen with our eyes!

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