“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (I Thessalonians 3:12-13) Happy New Year! With this first Sunday of Advent we must recall again that the Church reckons time differently than does the world. In the world, we have just survived another “black Friday” that day in which we are called to participate in the dominant religion of our culture: consumption! Will it be a good year for retail or not? Time will tell. That is one way to spend December: in a frenzy of shopping and partying. However, Advent reminds us that we have another way to mark time. We are called here and now to understand that we live between the times; between the first Advent, which we will celebrate again on Christmas, and the second Advent in which our Lord returns. You and I are called to remember that far more important than our moving toward the end of a calendar year is our movement toward the One who loves us and is coming again. So then how do we live? Paul is reminding those Thessalonian Christians and us that our lives are to be marked by love not only for the folks that we know and like, but also “for all.” It is so tempting these days to only spend time with those with whom we agree, with those who share our beliefs and commitments, isn’t it? But the Apostle says “No.” For the only way to prepare adequately for the Lord who gave his life for all is to keep going forth to love all. What better way to celebrate the birth of our new born King than to open our lives to him in order that we might receive the grace necessary to offer his love.