i’ve quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer a number of times here, I featured some of his work during my advent series, and I can’t help but revisit him yet again. His words ring so clear as Christmas approaches, and his grasp of truth is timeless.
We have selected from the Christmas story only the pleasant bits, forgetting the awesome nature of an event in which the God of the universe, its Creator and Sustainer, draws near to this little planet, and now speaks to us. The coming of God is not only a message of joy, but also fearful news for anyone who has a conscience. It is only by facing up to the fearfulness of the event that we can begin to understand the incomparable blessing. God comes into the midst of evil and death, to judge the evil in the world–and in us. And while he judges us, he loves us, he purifies us, and he comes to us with gifts of grace and love. He makes us happy as only children know. He is, and always will be now, with us in our sin, in our suffering, and at our death. We are no longer alone. God is with us and we are no longer homeless. A piece of the eternal home is grafted into us. For that reason, we grown-ups can rejoice with all our heart around the Christmas tree–perhaps even more so than the children.
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Advent Sunday, December 2, 1928
May the word Emmanuel–God with us–never sound tired or plain. God, the creator of all, with us.
Merry Christmas, Folks!