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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Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.” For the Lord has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall become like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again. Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

Jeremiah 31:10-13

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It had not ended well as camp came to a close the previous summer. I had stewed and had 100 conversations with myself during the entire year that followed. So as he walked into the lodge on this first day of camp, I was filled with many emotions. He walked right up to me and without hesitation said, "How about we go for a walk?”

Much was shared and many feelings were expressed; and an hour and half later, after many steps were walked by God's grace, we had found ourselves at a place of healing and reconciliation.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us: "I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” The mystery is always made known as we accept God's endless invitation to be made whole.

Brian Prior

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God of hope, God of healing, please help me to take the steps I need with others today for your loving forgiveness to be made known. Amen.

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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.

 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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