Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. It is a season where we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and anticipate his return. Advent for Christmas is what Lent is for Easter. For many Americans, however, the Advent Season is a busy and stressful one. Christmas has become a commercial holiday that has become about feeding our insatiable desire for material goods. I often find myself dissatisfied after getting something that I absolutely wanted. I see this with my children every Christmas. After they open one gift, they are ready to move on to the next one. In this week's reading of 2 Samuel, we come across a tragic story of Tamar. She was beautiful and was the object of Amnon's obsession. He absolutely loved her. There was one big problem with Amnon's love towards Tamar. She was his half-sister, so he could not legally have her which tormented him (2 Samuel 13:1-2). Through a series of unfortunate events, Amnon gets what he wanted with Tamar. His reaction that follows demonstrates the power of sin. His love towards Tamar turns to hatred. He blames the victim, a typical response which we are seeing today in many sexual misconduct cases. How could love turn to hatred so quickly? It is because of the deception in Amnon's heart. His issue was lust, which stems from his heart of emptiness and loneliness. An emptiness that he was filling with his perverse desires. Only God can fill the emptiness he was experiencing. But sin drove him further away from God. Like Amnon, there are many things we think we want and need in life. And like Amnon, we will not be able to fill our emptiness with the desires of our heart, no matter how successful and powerful we become. Only God can fill our deepest needs and that is why Jesus came here on earth on Christmas morning. This Advent season, let us reflect on what matters most - our Lord Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

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