by Christine Sine.
I am embarrassed to say that I have just purchased another Advent devotional. At least I would be embarrassed if it were not for the fact that one of my resolutions during Advent this year is to pause 3 times a day to pray and reflect. Having three devotionals has greatly facilitated that. Now I have one for the morning, one for midday and one for the evening. The reflections in each only take a few minutes but I find myself pondering the words in the times between. It is refreshing and energizing.
God is in the Manger is by one of my favorite theologians Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Evidently Advent was one of his favorite times of year and his powerful reflections, written mainly from prison are powerful and inspiring. Here are a couple of glimpses from my initial readings:
Life in a prison cell may well be compared to Advent” Bonhoeffer wrote his best friend Eberhard Bethge as the holidays approached in 1943. “One waits, hopes, and does this, that, or the other – things that are really of no consequence- the door is shut and can only be opened from the outside.”
Of course for Bonhoeffer the door never opened and he was hanged on April 8, 1945 just ten days before the German forces began to surrender.
Christ is knocking. It’s still not Christmas, but it’s also still not the great last Advent, the last coming of Christ. Through all the Advents of our life that we celebrate runs the longing for the last Advent, when the word will be: “see I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5
The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is, a season of waiting for the last Advent, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
Like Bonhoeffer I long for that last Advent, that time when all things will be made new and Christ will come again in all his fullness.
Celebrating Advent means being able to wait. Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the the fruit when it has hardly finished plating the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespectful hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them. Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting – that is, of hopefully doing without- will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.
Waiting is hard, and as we begin this first week of Advent, waiting for the coming of Christ, whether we wait for the remembrance of his birth, for new birth within ourselves or for that final Advent at the end of time, the longing sometimes seems overwhelming and we are very tempted to taste of the fruit before it is ripe.
God may we learn to wait patiently for what you are giving birth to.
(As an Amazon Affiliate I receive a small amount for purchases made through appropriate links in this post)