The greatest gift in our life of faith is that God lives in each of us. Quiet prayer is a chance to reconnect with our best self and the God who made us.

As you enter into prayer, know that the peace of God is available to all who seek it. In fact, it is already in your heart. Try to claim it now.

And remember that tomorrow is another day.

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“Bless the Lord God of Israel because he has come to help and has delivered his people.

He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house, just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.

He has brought salvation from our enemies and from the power of all those who hate us.

He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and remembered his holy covenant, the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.

He has granted that we would be rescued from the power of our enemies so that we could serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes, for as long as we live."

Luke 1:68-75

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Most of us have heard that some version of “do not be afraid” is among the Bible’s favorite expressions. When the storm rages, when angels appear, when others persecute us, when all our hopes have died, the Christ who lives in our hearts whispers “fear not, take heart, I am with you.”

But the gift of courage is not just for when our backs are against the wall. Sometimes to “serve without fear” means to enter the fray, to take a deep breath and willingly put ourselves into an uncomfortable situation.

The older we get, the more likely we are to need such courage to keep learning, keep growing. God knows we cannot work for peace and justice alone, that we’ll require strength from above to raise an issue we’d rather ignore, to challenge ourselves and others to right wrongs, big and small.

This doesn’t mean we should become brash or reckless. It does mean, when we read in scripture that God has set us free, that we should ask: “set free for what?”

Kyle Oliver

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God, you are always with me in times of danger. Give me courage to weather the storms that come my way, and to enter the ones into which you are calling me. Empower me to do what is right. Amen.

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Spirit of Peace, you dwell in my heart.

Spirit of Love, you make me whole.

Spirit of Joy, you teach me to serve.

Kyle Oliver

Kyle Matthew Oliver (@kmoliver) is an Episcopal priest who believes in the power of digital media to help people engage their faith. He serves as digital missioner for the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary and lives with his wife in New York City. He enjoys doing yoga, making things, and listening to podcasts.

Advent Reflections: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Joseph Martin

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