2nd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
The one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
Every winter, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival takes place in China’s Heilongjiang province. Artists take blocks of ice from the nearby Songhua River and carve them into buildings, creating a magnificent frozen city. When everything is finished, the ice city is filled with lights, and tourists come from all over to marvel at it.
In today’s second reading, Paul tells us that God is a sculptor. But instead of carving ice, God is shaping us. His goal is to make us into shining witnesses to his love and his grace. Paul goes on to say that he is very confident that God will finish what he has started. Paul’s statement leaves us with two questions: first, what is the “good work” that God has done? And second, why is Paul so confident this work will be completed?
The “work” that God has done in us is our salvation. It’s the work of his Spirit in shaping us to become more and more like Christ. This is why we celebrate Christmas in the first place: God sent his Son into the world not to condemn us but to save us (John 3:17)!
Paul is confident because he knows that this is primarily God’s work, not our own—and God always finishes what he starts! At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you” (John 15:16). Just as he chose Mary and Joseph, Peter and Paul, God has chosen each of us and called us to salvation. We belong to him!
Now, God chooses everyone, but not everyone responds to his call. Yes, so much is his work, but we do have a part to play. So make it a point to choose Christ today. Know that he will give you all the grace you need to become like him. He has chosen you; he has begun sculpting you; he won’t rest until you shine with his light and his love!
“Jesus, I am yours! Come and continue your work in my heart.”~WAU