Christmas day and the day after Christmas are two of my favorite days of the year. They are filled with memories of lazy days with my wife and children enjoying the celebration of the Savior and the gifts of love we give to one another following his model of giving himself for us. This year, we couldn’t be with our children or our grandchildren. But we haven’t been alone.
I have been offline for most of the last two days spending time with a wonderful family that allowed us the privilege of “adopting” their children for a few days as surrogate grandchildren. In between multiple games of “football”, hide and seek, board games and card games and laughs and books read and endless conversations, I had the opportunity to almost finish Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas Sermons (Zondervan, 2005).
So, here’s some thought stuff from 84 years ago and two messages six months apart in the year that saw the nation of Germany move in a distinctly fascist direction. But there were some (Bonhoeffer being one of the them) who fought the good fight for the gospel, and truth, and the hope of a new-born king in Bethlehem.
“Whoever thinks he can build the church is already destroying it. For what he is building is a temple for idols without knowing or wishing it.
We shall confess—HE shall build.
….We shall preach—HE shall build.
….We shall pray to Him—HE shall build.”
“Whether the numbers are great or small, whether the members are lowly or high, whether they are weak or strong, if they confess Christ, the victory is theirs through all eternity; ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for your father has been pleased to give you the kingdom’ (Luke 12:32).”
Bonhoeffer’s last sermon in Berlin
July 23, 1933
“Do you want to be delivered? That is the only really important and decisive question which Advent poses for us. Does there burn within us some lingering longing to know what deliverance really means?”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Sermon from London
First Sunday of Advent December 3, 1933