When once again Christmas comes and we hear the familiar carols and sing the Christmas hymns, something happens to us, and a special kind of warmth slowly encircles us. The hardest heart is softened. We recall our own childhood. We feel again how we then felt, especially if we were separated from a mother. A kind of homesickness comes over us for past times, distant places, and yes, a blessing longing for a world without violence or hardness of heart. But there is something more–a longing for the safe lodging of the everlasting Father. And that leads our thoughts to the curse of homelessness which hangs heavily over the world.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, December 2nd, 1928 Advent Sunday.
I thought it fitting to choose from these selections from “Christmas Sermons” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer since I don’t have much time to post. I stumbled across this book stuck in Dad’s overflowing bookshelf and thought, “What a neat little book!” Then I looked inside. Lo and behold it had my inscription on the front flap. “To Dad, Merry Christmas, 2005….Love, Lori” I had forgotten that it was from me! And now it has some of his notations and highlights. Those are always wonderful to find. I think of the time in the future when I will open it, and he won’t be here anymore. It is a reality that I must face, sooner rather than later, since he is now 83. At that time, painful as it will be, he will be celebrating a true Christmas for all eternity, waiting for me there. I can imagine him making me a bed by the fire as he did when I was growing up, getting it ready as he did for my little niece just last night.
That is what Christmas is truly about……because of Christmas we have a future in Heaven! That is our reality if we know Christ. Because of that we can join the angels in saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
December 1st has always been a special time for me. It is somehow different than November 30th. A different feeling stirs in my soul, a place of quiet rests within, amidst all the bustle and flow of everything going on…..I always want to drag my foot to slow things down, make it last….pull the oar backwards to stop the flow of whitewater that threatens, waits around the bend.
It will be over all too soon……slow down and make it last. But after all, every day is Advent to us. What a blessing to have such an unspeakable Gift……”And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:14,15