For my own Advent Devotions this year I am reading “God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent” by Deitrick Bonhoeffer. I hope to share some of his thoughts in my own Advent devotionals with you.
As we begin, you might want to know a little about Bonhoeffer. Born in 1906 in Breslau, Germany, Deitrick Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor, theologian, seminary professor and Nazi dissident. In 1933, just two days after Adolf Hitler seized control of Germany, Bonhoeffer delivered a radio address criticizing the new regime and warning that “leaders of offices which set themselves up as gods mock God. So began a 12 year struggle with the Nazi regime that would eventually lead to his arrest and imprisonment in Tegel prison in 1943. He was executed on April 8, 1945 just 10 days before the beginning of the German surrender. Bonhoeffer was just 39 years old. Most of the writings in “God is in the Manger” were written in Tegel prison.
Bonhoeffer understood what it means to wait for something more. While in prison, he had little option but to wait and pray and pen some powerful words. In the midst of the waiting he suggested we remember the words of Revelation “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.” Rev. 3:20. Bonhoeffer suggested that really every day is advent for us because every day Christ stands at our door and knocks, and we have to decide whether to open the door to him and let him into our lives. He said Christ knocks at our doors in the people we share life with – people who are asking for help or for our time or our attention or our love. Some of them knock with an email. Some call on the phone. Some of them sit across the breakfast table from us. Some of them don’t appear to knock but are out there, outside our homes, needing our love and attention. Will we invite them into our lives and care?
Bonhoeffer says we all wait for the “Great Advent,” the final coming of God to put the world to rights. I have more of a longing for that “Great Advent” this year with everything being so upside down and frustrating right now. We all are waiting for things to “go back to normal” whatever that will look like. In the meantime, however, I think it is well to remember that every day is a little advent, where Christ knocks on the door of our hearts, waiting for us to open a little more to him and to his beloved all around us.
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