Earlier this month my friend Mary sent me a striking picture of a rustic manger with the caption, “The very first King Sized Bed.” She added this prayer, “Lord, let me be a manger for You this Christmas.” So when I got my free christianaudio free book of the month and saw the title, “God is in the manger,” my interest was piqued. Here is a quote:
“There are only two places where the powerful and great in this world lose their courage, tremble in the depths of their souls, and become truly afraid. These are the manger and the cross of Jesus Christ.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a minister, seminary professor, and theologian during the early 1900’s, who became one of the leading voices of opposition against Nazism during World War II. He was a founding member of Germany’s Confessing Church and was executed for participating in a plot to assassinate Hitler. His theological views have become highly influential in the years since his death. The book is compiled from excerpts of Bonhoeffer’s letters to his fiance’ from prison and passages from his Christmas sermons.
The book is written in four sections, one for each week of “advent.” Even though I have heard the term “advent” all my life, I looked it up so I could define it properly. It is from the Latin word adventus, which means “arrival.” I paused to reflect on the years that I have prayed through the Liturgical calendar which has Bible readings that correspond to the events that God has given us to reflect. I gave thanks for my liturgical brothers and sisters that help draw me closer to Jesus with intentional prayers and reflections.
I realized I was not thinking of His arrival, but I was distracted. I was more concerned about not getting caught up in the rush and materialism of this season and this book was just what I needed. It is helping me put some God centered thoughts in the place of crazy and self centered thoughts. This devotional is more however than just thinking “nice thoughts” about Christmas, but in Bonhoeffer’s true style, it points me toward the mystery and disruptive claims of the gospel. It reminds me of my husband’s sermon on the Life of Jesus, the Threatening Baby. Jesus is our Savior and so much more, are we willing to look at what His coming really means to us? I know it is about time I refocused.
So I invite you to advent, to preparing your heart for the coming of The King. Take a deep breath and stop all the hurry, prepare for His Arrival.