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At Home or on the Road, God Is with Us

No matter how much we try to extend the holiday with traveling and vacation time and a last party or two, there comes a time when we need to return to our daily activities and responsibilities. School starts up again, work beckons, and we have to bid farewell to Christmas once again. It can be refreshing to reclaim the space that was filled with the Christmas tree and other decorations. We forsake the Christmas cookies and boxes of candy for healthier food choices in the new year.

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Human and Divine

Knowing that God not only knows but experienced what it was to be a human being, composed of blood and flesh and bone, limited by all the things that limit us, should give us patience with our weakness and joy in our strength. In our prayers for help, we can say, “You know what it’s like,” and be confident that he does. But we can also look to the end of the story and know that by being one of us, he was able to raise us up to overcome those limits—and the final limit of death itself. As St. Irenaeus put it so well, “He became human so that we might become divine.”

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Jesus Is Forever

We’re approaching the end of the Christmas season. Soon we will be back to the ordinary routines of our life. But if we have celebrated the feast of the incarnation well, our lives will be changed. We don’t know what the new year will hold for us, for our families, for the world. But we know that God will continue to be with us. As we look back at the significant events of the past year, both the joys and the sorrows, the highs and the lows, we can see how God has shaped us and strengthened us for what lies ahead. Perhaps we’re a bit relieved that Christmas is over for another year.

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God Alone Is All We Need

Advent reminds us that the One who has come into the world and is always coming into our lives in new ways is the source of our salvation. We don’t need novelty and “magic bullet” solutions to our concerns. We simply need to return again and again to the rock-solid foundation of our lives: God and God alone. The mystery of the Incarnation is that by entering into our time and into our world, Jesus can show us the way to the gift that is beyond all time.

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Take a Step Back

We are constantly surrounded by advertising in a growing variety of forms. Ads creep into nearly everything we do. And this ramps up even more during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Advent invites us to take a break from the deluge of ads and seek something deeper and more lasting than the latest electronics or the best deal on that kitchen appliance that everyone needs this year. Advent invites us to seek a sense of peace and wholeness in our hearts and in our daily lives.

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Wants and Needs

Somewhere in the course of a childhood or a lifetime, we learn to balance expectations and reality. It has much to do with learning the difference between wants and needs. We rarely do this perfectly in our everyday lives. It’s even more difficult in the heightened atmosphere of Christmas, whether it’s visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads or the bells and whistles of this year’s electronics. Sometimes what we imagine as the perfect Christmas present fails to live up to its hype, and we’re disappointed.

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