Scripture Focus: 1 John 3.1-3
1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 

Reflection: See What Great Love — Love of Advent
By John Tillman

Human family is often used as an analogy for spiritual family. However, human love consistently fails to show the full depth of God’s love. It is seeing through a darkened, warped glass. (1 Corinthians 13.12-13) All of us can probably think of strained relationships in our human families. There may be those we only tolerate because they are family or family members who only begrudgingly associate with us.

Cultural celebrations of love and family during the holidays can highlight this tension. Many of the stories we share or watch, especially holiday films, focus on perfect, or near-perfect, families. Even if at the beginning of a holiday film there is tension and division, we are sure that, before the credits roll, all will be well. In our own lives, however, finding that resolution is never a sure thing.

Even the best and healthiest of families fall short of being perfect examples of God’s family. Also, many people’s experience of family has been harmful or even abusive. In one way or another, human families fall short of divine family. 

Even the purest and most idealistic family we could imagine is insufficient to express the love of God for us. John glowingly tells us of our true hope in the love of God’s family. This love we anticipate at Advent is not begrudging affection. It is a full-throated cry of love from God’s heart for his children. It is lavish love. It is over-abundant, extravagant love.

We are brought in, not with apologies or cringing, but with joy and love. John tells us that we are loved now, as we are, but that what we will become through this love is not fully known. As Christ appears to us, we are to become more and more like him. His love transforms us to be like him and this transformation makes us more human, not less.

In the season of Advent and beyond, remember that beholding Jesus is the first step on a path to becoming more like him. 
Let us behold him, seeing how much he loves us.
Let us obey him, letting others see how he changes us.
Let us magnify him, becoming less in our own eyes so that he can become greater.
Let us emulate him, calling others to come and see what great love the Father lavishes on those who come to him.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law. — Psalm 119.18

Today’s Readings
Esther 6 (Listen 2:40)
1 John 3 (Listen 3:21)

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Jesus invited the repentant thief…he invited me…and he invited you. Be ready for his coming. Respond.