12 It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. 13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. 14 The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. 15 So, all of us who are spiritually mature should think this way and if anyone thinks differently, God will reveal it to him or her. 16 Only let’s live in a way that is consistent with whatever level we have reached. (Philippians 3:12-16; Common English Bible)
In Philippians 3 we hear Paul declare that his goal in life is to pursue God’s calling, and in this pursuit to experience the prize that is God’s presence. Although our Christmas celebrations involve sharing of gifts, the greatest gift is the presence of God in our lives, and the invitation to become part of this presence, as we are enfolded into the body of Christ.
Therefore, with Paul, may we say that “the goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14 CEB). As Paul points out, he has yet to fulfill this goal, which is a life long pursuit. The very fact that Advent rolls around each year at this time, is a good reminder, that we still have more to learn, that we have more need of God’s presence in our lives, so that we might live out God’s calling, which is at its very base is simply this – to love God with our entire being and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. May this be our goal as we share this journey of Advent with the once and coming Lord of all, Jesus the Christ.