This season, we celebrate with great joy the story of Jesus’ birth. In this humble and loving act, we see the ultimate example of a missioner.

He came to share in our humanity. He came to build a personal relationship with each of us. Just as Jesus crossed the great boundary of heaven and earth to be with us, so are we called to break down the barriers between us and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as he came to share in our suffering, we are called to acknowledge that, in the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Just as Jesus wove himself into the fabric of humanity, we are called to recognize that divine thread that runs through us and all of God’s creation.

We are called to reach out. To connect. To embrace.

To celebrate this shared humanity, this shared world, we asked our missioners, staff, associates, alumni, board, and friends to contribute stories about crossing boundaries and borders. These divisions might be physical, cultural, or spiritual. We look forward to sharing these stories with you here each day throughout the Advent and Christmas season.

This year’s theme, “The Shared World,” was inspired not only by Christ’s Incarnation, but by this beautiful poem, Gate A-4, by Naomi Shihab Nye. Her story reminded us how basic human experiences like waiting in an airport and eating sweets can help transcend differences and bring us together. Our series will continue to explore the unification of the human family, God’s children, through shared experiences.

We are honored to offer for a fourth year in a row a special holiday series as a gift of reflection and inspiration. To support this our online ministry  — or any of our other programs promoting lay mission in the Franciscan tradition— please consider making a tax-deductible gift this season

Thank you for journeying with us these season through “The Shared World.”