When I hear the Christmas Gospel this year, I will pause to reflect upon all the varied contexts in which it is being read—from the diminishing number of Palestinian Lutheran Christians who will gather in Bethlehem to those who will worship in the rapidly growing Ethiopian Evangelical [Lutheran] Church Mekane Yesus to the millions who will gather in the ELCA’s 10,440 congregations. The story of Jesus’ birth is a reminder that God in Christ gives us the gift of unity.
Unity, however, is not only God’s gift but also our task. The ELCA seeks in its faith and life to “manifest the unity given to the people of God by living together in the love of Christ and by joining with other Christians in prayer and action to express and preserve the unity which the Spirit gives” (ELCA Constitution 4.02.f.).
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