The Wisdom of Advent – Learning to Wait
Week 2: Love.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was imprisoned by the Nazis for two years and executed just weeks before the regime collapsed. He wrote these words in a letter to his finance while in prison in 1943, “I think we’re going to have an exceptionally good Christmas. The very fact that every outward circumstance precludes our making provision for it will show whether we can be content with what is truly essential. I used to be very fond of thinking up and buying presents, but now that we have nothing to give, the gift God gave us in the birth of Christ will seem all the more glorious.”1
For Bonhoeffer, having nothing highlighted God’s great gift of love in becoming human and our need to welcome him into our hearts. Our preparations and flurry of activities can sometimes overshadow what is most important to us during the holidays. Although not as extreme as Bonhoeffer’s situation, we saw what it would mean to celebrate without all our “normal” traditions during the Covid pandemic.
- Do you have any insights (either positive or negative) from that experience that might prompt you to do something different this year?
1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger, 6.
I think Covid showed us what truly matters during Christmas and allows us to appreciate more deeply what we are able to do and the people we are able to see. My goal for this Christmas is to try to find the proper balance between living in fear (Covid, flu, RSV) and living my life. It’s a delicate and fine line, though. But I’m trying to being wise/sensible, take precautions, and trust in God to guide my decision.
I pray that you find the balance that works for you, and have a peaceful Advent season!