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God is in the Manger

“Be brave for my sake, dearest Maria, even if this letter is your only token of my love this Christmas-tide. We shall both experience a few dark hours—why should we disguise that from each other? We shall ponder the incomprehensibility of our lot and be assailed by the question of why, over and above the darkness already enshrouding humanity, we should be subjected to the bitter anguish of a separation whose purpose we fail to understand. . . .  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 may do to us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Letter to fiancée Maria von Wedemeyer
From prison, December 13, 1943

Every once in a while, I stumble across a treasure. Bonhoeffer’s God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas is the latest. From inside a prison cell, the meaning of and need for Christmas intensifies. If reading some of the samples on Amazon wasn’t enough to convince me to add it to my Christmas wish list, Scot McKnight’s amazing endorsement below persuaded me. You might want to add it to yours.


These Advent and Christmas reflections of Bonhoeffer flew from his prison cell, flung open the doors of hope, and sailed heavenward as heart-wrenching prayers, prayers from a condemned man, prayers from a hopeful man, prayers from a man who embodied what it means to pray ‘May your kingdom come.’ This will be my advent and Christmas book.”
Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olssen Professor of Religious Studies,
North Park University,
author of The Blue Parakeet,
Synergy2010 Plenary Speaker
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