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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In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Ephesians 1:7-10

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When we were little kids, he was the guy who could build or fix anything. When I wrecked my bike, he took the whole thing apart and then fixed it up, good as new. When we decided to build a tree house, he was the one who drew up the plans and walked all of us through the construction process. He was the smartest kid I knew… that was, until we got into middle school. The more difficult classes became, the more he fell behind. When we started our freshman year of high school, he wasn’t around. His parents attempted other educational options, but none of those worked out either.

This was the beginning of my understanding that all of us have our own learning styles and preferences. For some of us, knowledge comes through reading or listening, and for others, knowledge comes from life experience. As people of faith, we all have the opportunity to acquire much wisdom and insight through prayer. And to that end, my childhood friend is still one of the wisest people I know.

Brian Prior

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God of abundance, continue to open me to all the ways you make yourself known to me. 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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