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When family and friends gather at our home for Christmas or Thanksgiving, I compose a prayer for the occasion. It usually coincides with themes that are engaging me at the moment. Here is what I plan to pray this Christmas day:

Almighty and Eternal God,
      infinite and holy,
      whose being genius cannot fathom,
      whose works galaxies cannot contain,

Before you we gratefully come, celebrating the day
      when you, the Almighty, did not count omnipotence a thing to be grasped,
      when Eternity played by the calendar,
      when Infinity was checked by gravity,
      when Holiness mixed it up with sinners,
      when the Creator of intergalactic space
            became a body
            and moved into our neighborhood.

Today we revel in the revelation
      that we who were light-years distant 
            have been drawn to you as breath in lungs,   
      that we who had lost touch
            can now feel the wounds in your hands and feet,
            brushing up against the holy body that bore the sins of the world,
            and the cold flesh that, soon enough, turned warm and whole,
            and soon enough, made all things new.

We, like the shepherds in the field,
      like the woman at the tomb,
      are astonished,
      trembling in wonder
      and in fear.

If all this is true,
      if a love like this
      is the blood the courses through all reality,  
      behold, all things are new.

On our better days, Lord, we long to be transformed
      by the wonder.
But most days, it scares us to death to be changed,
      even by love.

But it is not to the bold that you have come,
      Only to the trembling
And not to the wise,
      But only to the foolish.

Give us ears to hear the glad tidings of great joy,
      and lungs to sing with exuberant praise,
      and legs to dance spritely around the strawy trough
            that cradled the Love
                who redeems the cosmos.


Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today. He also blogs occasionally at

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Previous SoulWork columns include:

Why We Need More 'Chaplains' and Fewer Leaders | What's a pastor for? (December 1, 2011)
The Confidence of the Evangelical | Why the Spirit, not the magisterium, will lead us into all truth. (November 17, 2011)
Good News: Jesus Is Not Nice | The chaos of grace and the grace of chaos. (September 29, 2011)
In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today in Carol Stream, Illinois.
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