Bonhoeffer says that anything of value is worth waiting for. He says that in our impatient world we tend to grab things quickly before they are ready, like a fruit before it is ripe, and then we are disappointed when it is not tasty. I was particularly touched by his words about friendships and loving relationships. Relationships take time to bloom and flourish. Even the relationship between a parent and newborn baby grows as the child learns to trust. Bonhoeffer writes, “For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait. It happens not here in a storm but according to the divine laws of sprouting, growing and becoming.”
Bonhoeffer knew what it meant to wait and hope as he languished in prison waiting for the day when the door might open, he might go free and marry the love of his life. In the meantime he peppered her with letters urging her to wait with hope and courage.
I take comfort from his words in the Advent season. Never have I experienced waiting like I experience it this year. I am waiting to see my parents again and my sons and their spouses and my granddaughter. I am waiting to see my new grandson we expect in April and am hoping against hope I will see him sometime soon after he is born. I am waiting to be with my church family again. I am waiting to sing Christmas carols in the congregation and to go shopping in a beautifully decorated mall and to sit around my dining room table with loved ones.
Bonheoffer says that when we are weighed down with all the sadness of waiting, “the Christmas message comes to tell us that all our ideas are wrong, and that what we take to be evil and dark is really good and light because it comes from God. Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment.” He goes on to urge us to courage, and he reminds us that God is secretly revealed in love and rules the world and our lives.” May it be so.
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