This will be my last post of 2012. For a few days our conversation will have to hold as I devote all my time and affections to my family. Apart from any unforeseen events, this Christmas and New Year promises to be full of fun and ease for the Brandts. I am looking forward to making some lasting memories with those I love most. Some of you share my happy anticipation while others can’t. Christmas doesn’t always coincide with good times and the days ahead will seem grim to some. Knowing that our outlook varies, I have borrowed a season’s greeting from a ‘friend’ who is able to minister to all.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote this poem to his family and friends aka “kindly powers” during his last year of life. It was the Advent of 1944, and he was in prison.
By kindly powers surrounded, peaceful and true,
wonderfully protected with consolation dear,
safely, I dwell with you this whole day through
and surely into another year.
Though from the old our hearts are still in pain,
while evil days oppress with burdens still,
Lord, give to our frightened souls again,
salvation, and thy promises fulfill.
And should’st thou offer us the bitter cup, resembling sorrow,
filled to the brim and overflowing,
we will receive it thankfully, without trembling,
from thy hand so good and ever-loving.
But if it be thy will again to give
joy of this world and bright sunshine,
then in our minds we will past times relive
and all our days be wholly thine.
Let candles burn, both warm and bright,
which to our darkness thou hast brought,
and, if that can be, bring us together in the light,
thy light shines in the night unsought.
When we are wrapped in silence most profound,
may we hear that song most fully raised
from all the unseen world that lies around
and thou art by all thy children praised.
By kindly powers protected wonderfully,
confident, we wait for come what may.
Night and morning, God is by us, faithfully
and surely at each new born day.
God bless you and yours as you celebrate the birth of Christ. May His grace supersede your circumstances and grant you his peace. And as 2013 dawns, I pray that His kindness will lead you on.