The devotional reading in my Bonhoeffer devotional today is all about time. Included in this reading is a letter Bonhoeffer wrote to his parents while in Tegel prison. He writes: Dear Parents… I don’t need to tell you how much I long for freedom and for you all. But over the decades you have provided for us such incomparably beautiful Christmases that my thankful remembrance of them is strong enough to light up one dark Christmas. Only such times can really reveal what it means to have a past and an inner heritage that is independent of chance and the changing of the times.
Bonhoeffer’s words touch me because I find myself in these days caught between generations and longing for both. My parents are in their early 90s and I dearly wish I could visit them, but I refrain from visiting for fear that I might, through my minimal exposure, endanger them. Likewise I long for my children who typically still join Mike and me for Christmas each year. They will not come this year for fear that they would bring the virus with them and expose Mike and me. Sigh… I find Bonhoeffer’s words comforting in our isolation. The truth is my parents gave me so many beautiful Christmases growing up that these memories sustain me. And I have passed many of their traditions to my own children while adding to them. In my extended family, we are currently trying to create work arounds so we can spend time together virtually and share in some of our traditions, but I have to trust that the beauty of our past celebrations will lighten their and our current dark days. We create these beautiful traditions for one another to hold us in dark times and to point to the source of light in all times. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not put it out.” John 1:5.
Many blessing on you and yours as you prepare for this holy season.
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