This Blessed Longing

“The celebration of Advent is possible
only to those who are troubled in soul,
who know themselves to be poor and imperfect,
who look forward to something greater to come.

“For these, it is enough
to wait in humble fear
until the Holy One Himself
comes down to us, God
in the child in the manger.

“God comes.
The Lord Jesus comes.
Christmas comes.
Christians rejoice!

“When once again
Christmas comes and
we hear the familiar carols and
sing the Christmas hymns,
something happens to us…

“The hardest heart is softened.
We recall our own childhood.
We feel again how we then felt,
especially if we were
separated from a mother.

“A kind of homesickness
comes over us
for past times,
distant places,
and yes, a blessed longing
for a world without violence
or hardness of heart.

“But there is something more—
a longing for the safe lodging
of the everlasting Father.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, December 2, 1928

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