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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The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

John 1:17-18

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We were each invited to draw four boxes on a sheet of paper. In the first box, we wrote the word “passion,” and then we were invited to list things that "fired us up." In the second box, we wrote the words "good at” and then listed what we believed we were good at. The words for the third box were "always do,” and we wrote the things we just always seem to do. Finally, in the fourth box, we wrote the word "believe" and then wrote what we really valued.

The facilitator suggested that what we had written down were gifts from the Holy Spirit and then immediately asked us: ”What are you going to do with these gifts? How about you start by looking in your community, and see where the greatest need is.”

Our scripture tells us that no one has ever seen God, but through the Son, God has been made known. When we choose to follow Jesus and his example by using our gifts to meet the world's needs, God is made known. The mystery is made known.

Brian Prior

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God of every gift, give me strength and courage to use the gifts you have given me to meet the needs of the world, which you make known to all people. 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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