In one of the most consoling passages in all of Scripture, the prophet Isaiah cascades image after image of the coming Messiah. Read and see which word, which image ‘shimmers,’ calls to you. ‘A bud shall blossom’ – do you sense something changing in your life? ‘The lion shall eat hay with the ox’ – have you felt the need to reconcile with someone? ‘The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’ – do you feel a growing desire to know Jesus? Whatever word or image catches you, it is God speaking to you.

As John the Baptist proclaims, “The kingdom of God is close at hand.” Yes, this Advent, now. Pay attention! Write the shimmering word or image down on a piece of paper or put it in your phone, and pause with it during this coming Advent week. God speaks, we listen. It’s pretty simple, but literally life-changing, and oh, so wonderful.

—Mark Henninger, S.J. serves as a Pastoral Care chaplain at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood IL.