THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY – JANUARY 3

A Necessary Daily Exercise

Why is it that my thoughts wander so quickly from God’s word, and that in my hour of need the needed word is often not there? Do I forget to eat and drink and sleep? Then why do I forget God’s word? Because I still can’t say what the psalmist says: “I will delight in your statutes” (Ps. 119:16). I don’t forget the things in which I take delight. Forgetting or not forgetting is a matter not of the mind but of the whole person, of the heart. I never forget what body and soul depend upon. The more I begin to love the commandments of God in creation and word, the more present they will be for me in every hour. Only love protects against forgetting.

Because God’s word has spoken to us in history and thus in the past, the remembrance and repetition of what we have learned is a necessary daily exercise. Every day we must turn again to God’s acts of salvation, so that we can again move forward.… Faith and obedience live on remembrance and repetition. Remembrance becomes the power of the present because of the living God who once acted for me and who reminds me of that today.

In our meditation we ponder the chosen text on the strength of the promise that it has something utterly personal to say to us for this day and for our Christian life, that it is not only God’s word for the Church, but also God’s word for us individually. We expose ourselves to the specific word until it addresses us personally. And when we do this, we are doing no more than the simplest, untutored Christian does every day; we read God’s word as God’s word for us.

Bonhoeffer, Life Together

I treasure your word in my heart,

so that I may not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O Lord;

teach me your statutes.

With my lips I declare

all the ordinances of your mouth.

I delight in the way of your decrees

as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts,

and fix my eyes on your ways.

I will delight in your statutes;

I will not forget your word.

Deal bountifully with your servant,

so that I may live and observe your word.

Open my eyes, so that I may behold

wondrous things out of your law.

Psalm 119:11–18[1]

 

[1] Bonhoeffer, D. (2010). God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas. (J. Riess, Ed., O. C. Dean Jr., Trans.) (First edition, pp. 84–85). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

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