Pause

That the tiny baby lying in a manger is both fully human and divine… That the Word became flesh and came to live among us… That the Creator of all became a child so that we might know true light and peace and love…

This is the mystery of Christmas.

We call it a mystery because it is hard for us to fathom. We can’t think hard enough to comprehend this love. And yet, in our faithful living and our following, the mystery is made known.

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Listen

In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-14

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Think

The campfire had just wrapped up at the middle school summer camp when two campers approached me and asked if we could talk. With the coaxing from her friend, one began, “I've never been baptized, and I’m wondering if we could do it while we’re at camp?" She told me that she’d come to camp with her friend and had never gone to church before.

The next morning the three of us met again and began to explore what baptism was and why she felt called to be baptized. It quickly became clear to me that this young woman had a sincere, deep desire to grow in her faith. After we talked, she called her parents and I called her friend’s minister and asked him to come and meet her too.

Two days later the entire camp community gathered on the lakeshore with this young woman, who was surrounded by her family, and she was baptized. She was, as Paul's letter to the Ephesians says, "marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit." And all those who were present experienced the holy being made known.

Brian Prior

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Pray

Gracious and loving God, encourage me each day to renew my commitment to you. Amen.

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Go

O God,
who has made the most sacred night to shine
with illumination of the true light,
grant, we pray, that, as we have known
the mystery of that light upon earth,
we may also perfectly enjoy it in heaven;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Gelasian Sacramentary (8th C.)

Brian Prior

The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior is the 9th Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota and has been involved with youth and camping ministry since he was a young person.

Advent Reflections: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Joseph Martin

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