“…And then, just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, 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. No evil can befall us; whatever men to do us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his fiancee while he was in prison, December 13, 1943 (bold and italics added)
I am currently reading God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, a compilation of notes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Many of these notes are gathered from letters written while in prison, an enemy to the Nazi regime for his involvement with an assassination plot against Hitler.
I love Christmas. I love the simple, silly little traditions surrounding the holiday: decorating the tree, Christmas movies, music, hot chocolate, snuggling up with my wife (okay, this is actually just my first year celebrating Christmas as a newlywed). I also love the slightly deeper aspects of sharing the holiday with friends and family.
Traditionally, though, the season of Advent is about waiting.
Unfulfillment. Anticipation. Hope. Anxiety. Wondering. Wandering.
Will God come through?
The Israelites encountered the deep, wintry silence of God for approximately four hundred years between the final book of the Old Testament and the Immaculate Conception.
God is in that waiting, though. All the build up, the fear and trembling, the white-knuckling it through life (and often the holidays) is really just meant to call us into grasping more tightly on to something beyond our immediate situation:
the deep waiting that will be redeemed in the manger.
So, if you feel restless, you might be on to something.
“For to us a child is born… Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)