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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He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:10-13

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We were exhausted, hot, sweaty, and covered in dirt. And yet, there were smiles all around.

When we arrived three days earlier, the fun of the "road trip" quickly dissipated as folks faced for the first time the reality of the monumental task before us: branches, brush, and human-sized weeds strewn across the landscape. Dilapidated buildings, many with boarded up windows, and old rusty cars filled the rest of the space. Most of us had never witnessed such a challenging scenario.

Yet, there we were three days later, physically spent, yet feeling an incredible sense of exhilaration. We were empowered and emboldened by the amazing way God had worked through us to come together to accomplish what, at one point, felt impossible. God was made known to us and through us to others as we used the gifts that God had given us.

Brian Prior

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Giving God, help me to trust that your power working through me can far exceed anything that I might ask or imagine. 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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