If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

I Corinthians 13:1

This fall I was granted an 8-week sabbatical by our Personnel Committee. While I was away from my regular work, I learned from a communications consultant, read interesting books, and spent time thinking about deep questions. I’m still struggling with one question in particular, and the answer to this question will impact how I celebrate Advent this year.

Do I care more about what I say than how I say it? 

As with many things in life, on the surface, the answer to this question seems obvious. My first (quick) answer was, “of course I care more about HOW I say something because people won’t listen to me if I do not speak kindly, respectfully, and with love.” However, as I processed the question more fully, the honest answer for me is, “sometimes, yes, I do care more about what I say….” After all, during Advent, don’t we have the most important news to share? Shouldn’t I tell everyone that Jesus is born, no matter how they hear it? 

A truism the consultant and I explored was “It’s not what you say. It’s what people hear.” So will people hear, “Good news! The Savior of the world is born!” if I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal? I’m pretty sure they will not. As I celebrate Advent this year, I hope to remember how the Prince of Peace would want me to show people His love.

Heavenly Father, be in control of my tongue and my tone. Help me live in a manner that points people to Your Son and shows them His love in a way they will hear and understand. 


Susan Moore is the Minister of Administration for Communications at South Main Baptist Church. She is married to Bill, and they have three grown children plus a wonderful son-in-law. She loves thinking of new ways to make Advent celebrations meaningful.

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