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  A Christian Faith Magazine December 2003, Volume 9, Issue 5  
Third Sunday of Advent
Rev. Mark Connolly
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Third Week of Advent

I would like to share a few thoughts with you on the season of Advent from two different points of view. Our point of view and God's point of view.

First, from our point of view, if you look at many of the sacred readings of the Advent Season, there is one theme that the readings highlight - anticipation. During this season that is basically what we do. We are anticipating the coming of Christ. And so, this season of Advent, not only finds us trying to spiritually prepare ourselves for the coming of the Christ Child, but also finds us anticipating the joys of the holiday season, the reunion of family members, and all the joys associated with the feast of Christmas itself.

But, have you ever considered what Christmas means from the standpoint of God himself? It, too, is summed up in the word anticipation. Where so many of look forward to the day of Christmas, Christ looks forward to his time with us long after Christmas day is over.

Just look at it in this fashion. The word anticipation through custom and tradition has always been a word that applies to a particular time, or day, such as Christmas Day. But, from the viewpoint of Christ, the word anticipation means more. Many of the moments of joy that we associate with Christmas are the things and qualities that Christ wants to have with us for all eternity. They can be summed up in three areas: Christ looks forward to our homecoming with him in Heaven; He looks forward to having permanent friendship with you for all eternity; He looks forward to giving you the gifts that you deserve for a life well-spent on earth serving Him.

Christ looks forward to our homecoming: if you recall, on the occasion the first Christmas, Christ left his own home in heaven to become one of us. And, all during his life on this earth, he spent his time teaching his followers in his father's house there are many mansions, that he came from Heaven to earth to have the opportunity of offering an everlasting home to all his followers. The joy of this Christmas season in no way compares with the Christmas that Christ has planned in Heaven.

Christ looks forward to a permanent friendship with each one of us: if you analyze the teachings of Christ when he walked this earth, he made it clear over and over again when he spoke of his desire to be our friend when he said, "I did not come from Heaven to earth to call you my servants, but to call you my friends." He repeated this theme over and over again by the death on the cross when he said, "Greater love than this no one has than he who lays down his life for a friend."

The last quality of anticipation from the viewpoint of Christ is that he wants us to have the gifts and the rewards for a life well-spent in serving God on earth. Christmas time for all of us is summed up in cards, carols, gifts and festive and happy occasions. The Christmas on earth doesn't compare with the Christmas that Christ has prepared for us in eternity. St. Paul has a beautiful line when he says, your eyes have not seen nor have your ears heard what God has in mind for those who serve him on earth. For all of us, it will be a time of joy, greater peace and serenity, and total happiness.

All of us have anticipated Christmas Day for different reasons. Christ anticipates Christmas day for different reasons. His desire is to have us live with him in his home to share his friendship with us and to reward us with the gifts and rewards we deserve. Christ, during his life told us that He had come so that we would have life and have it abundantly. That abundant life about which Christ spoke, will not be totally experienced by any Christmas on earth. Christ waits to have Christmas with us in his own home, in his own kingdom, in the place we call eternity.

Christmas began in the heart of God.
It is complete only when it reaches
the heart of man.

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