ADVENT WEEK TWO: MYSTERY – DAY THREE

The Wonder of All Wonders

God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof.

Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety—that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it. Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly.… God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.

That … is the unrecognized mystery of this world: Jesus Christ. That this Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter, was himself the Lord of glory: that was the mystery of God. It was a mystery because God became poor, low, lowly, and weak out of love for humankind, because God became a human being like us, so that we would become divine, and because he came to us so that we would come to him. God as the one who becomes low for our sakes, God in Jesus of Nazareth—that is the secret, hidden wisdom … that “no eye has seen nor ear heard nor the human heart conceived” (1 Cor. 2:9).… That is the depth of the Deity, whom we worship as mystery and comprehend as mystery.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,

nor the human heart conceived,

what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

1 Corinthians 2:8–10[1]


Preparing Hearts for the Infant Jesus

Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; Luke 1:17; 3:4

It is a custom with many Christians to anticipate the arrival of Christmas a considerable time beforehand by fitting up in their homes a crib to represent the birth of Jesus Christ. But there are few who think of preparing their hearts in order that the infant Jesus may be born in them, and there find His repose.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787)[2]


Looking Forward to the Second Advent

Acts 1:10–11; Revelation 22:20

O Lord Jesus Christ, who by your holy angels promised that you would come again in like manner as you were taken from us,

even so come, we ask you, and fulfill the desire of your Church.

Lord, we wait for you day by day.

Give us the graces of your Holy Spirit, that we will not be unready when you appear;

watchfulness, that our loins may be girded and our lights burning;

zeal, that we will not be slothful, but followers of those who inherit your promises;

singleness of heart, that we will not be unfaithful stewards of your manifold gifts.

And thus, O Lord, may we wait for you,

not unwise, but understanding what is your will,

walking circumspectly, because the days are evil.

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Henry Alford (1810–1871)[3]


[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. 22–23). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

[2] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.

[3] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.

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