It’s so easy, amidst busyness and good, holy pursuits to focus so intensely on the task at hand that I forget to listen for the voice of the living God, usually in those who are right in front of me.

King Ahaz is in a similar situation. The living God invites Ahaz to ask for a “sign,” but Ahaz dismisses God with a quote from scripture: “I don’t want to test God.” The scripture is good, but in this case an old understanding is getting in the way of Ahaz’s openness to a God who wants to reveal something new.

God’s response to this resistance is not denial, but a promise: to be present to us in a way that nobody could have imagined.

In these final days of Advent, may I ask for the grace to be open to God’s desire to be with me in new and unexpected ways.

— Ryen Dwyer, S.J., a Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit scholastic, is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.