In this book, Dietrich Bonhoeffer challenges everyone to look up. To shift our gaze from constantly changing circumstances and events on this earth. He invites the reader to look up, to wait for God to break through and be near.
“And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”
He reminds the reader that God is with us. He describes the reality of the gift of Jesus being born, of him being made human. The reality that God in human form came to earth to walk among the human race, to share love and compassion and teaching, and ultimately save.
He mentions the mercy and humility and divine power of a God to be low in a manger. It’s beautiful.
“The joy of God has gone through the poverty of the manger and the distress of the cross; therefore it is invincible and irrefutable.”
The joy of God, available freely to us, is invincible and irrefutable. Doesn’t that just breathe power and strength into you? It does me. It breathes fresh motivation and power to choose joy in the fleeting circumstances.
He talks about how our entire life is an Advent season, because we’re waiting for the ‘last Advent,’ when Christ will return. I think this is a beautiful image to hold on to.
This is one of my favorite quotes:
“Every day we must turn again to God’s acts of salvation, so that we can again move forward… Faith and obedience live on remembrance and repetition. Remembrance becomes the power of the present because of the living God who once acted for me and who reminds me of that today.”
Remembrance becomes the power of the present. I wholeheartedly agree with this idea. And even taking it a step further, remembering God’s past faithfulness, in the Bible and in my own life, give me hope and energy for the days to come.
This book has been an influential read for me this Advent season, as I try and keep my heart’s gaze on that which is the most important: Jesus. Jesus and the people I share Christmas moments with. It’s far too easy to get bogged down and hung up when circumstances don’t go ‘my way,’ or distracted by the material items given and received, but how much more special these days are when I treasure my loved ones with heart eyes fixed on the Lord. It’s far too easy to become numb with the hustle and bustle of the season, and to forget how sweet it is that my soul is loved unconditionally, that the God I worship became a human like me. It would be sad to live through the Christmas season without my heart realizing the great magnitude of His love and mercy and humility.
Every day we must turn again to God’s acts of salvation….
Let’s do it, friends. Enjoy your Christmas week! Let it seep deep down into your soul.