I come to this New Year’s celebration having read a daily reflection through Advent and Christmas by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the Church’s most beloved theologians. He was imprisoned for his criticism of the Nazi regime in Germany and hung by order of one of Hitler’s final execution decrees in April, 1945. He was just 39 years old. Though his life was short, his legacy as a devoted Christian lives on in the papers he delivered, the entries he made in his diary and in his letters from prison.
Writing to his fiancÃ©e, Maria von Wedemeyer, on December 13, 1943, he said, “Be brave for my sake, dearest Maria, even if this letter is your only token of my love this Christmas-tide. … God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment.”
Bonhoeffer described the birth of the Christ Child as “the greatest turning point in history.” “Everything past and everything future is accomplished here … the infinite mercy of the almighty God comes to us in the form of a child.”