“How often have you thought that to see Jesus would be marvelous, that you would give everything you have to know that He was with you. …Jesus knew that His followers would want to see Him and have Him by them in human form. But how can this be? He told a parable about this—the scene of the last judgment when He would divide the nations as a shepherd divides His sheep from the goats. He said to those who were truly His flock of sheep … Come you who are blessed by my Father… I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me. When [they] …asked in surprise, “When? Where?,” He answered, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me. …With that we face the shocking reality. Jesus stands at the door and knocks. He asks for help in the form of a beggar, a down-and-out, a man in ragged clothes, someone who is sick, even a criminal in need of our love. He meets you in every person you encounter in need. So long as there are people around, Christ walks the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls to you, demands of you, makes claims upon you. That is the great seriousness of the Advent message and its great blessing. Christ stands at the door. He lives in the form of people around us. Will you therefore leave the door safely locked for your protection, or will you open the door for Him? It may seem odd to us that we can see Jesus in so familiar a face. But that is what He said. Whoever refuses to take seriously this clear Advent message cannot talk of the coming of Christ into his heart. …Christ knocks!” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Jesus claims powerful solidarity with the poor and disenfranchised. What is your attitude toward them?
- Will your desire for safety keep you from “opening the door” to a needy person?
- Consider the meaning of Christ’s coming in this light. Have you understood it?
Abba, stretch my heart to make room for the ones you love.
For More: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas Sermons edited by Edwin Robertson
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