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The Frightening Side of Advent

This morning I came across these excerpts from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas sermons, a collection of 17 years of sermons he gave during the Christmas season. In these writings, he certainly reminds us of the daunting requirements of the arrival of this precious little boy child. It's not all glitter and gold, giddy and glee! Our world was turned upside down and continues to be when we answer, "I will with God's help" to questions like "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons?" and "Will you respect the dignity of every human being?"

"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come...We have selected from the Christmas story only the pleasant bits, forgetting the awesome nature of an event in which the God of the universe, its Creator and Sustainer, draws near to this little planet and now speaks to us. The coming of God is not only a message of joy, but also fearful news for anyone who has a conscience.”

Facing Advent "again for the first time" means admitting that the last however many attempts didn't quite measure up...or at least that's what it means to me. I've walked the walk and talked the talk, but here I am coming back around a year later feeling cracked and even broken in places. Or maybe that's just what a year of living does to us...cracks us and breaks us and sends us crawling back to the source...reminding us that we are "lowly and God alone <is> high!"

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