Taking on our guilt during Advent…

During Advent, two of my favorite theologians remind us as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus that what is at stake for Jesus entirely is his love for humankind.  Born as a baby, Jesus enters into the guilt of we humans, finally and ultimately taking that guilt upon himself on the cross, giving his life for the sins of humankind. 

** Thus, German theologian Dietrch Bonhoeffer says of Jesus: “A sinless nature and his guilt bearing are bound together in him indissolubly. As the sinless one, Jesus takes guilt upon himself, and under the burden of this guilt, he shows that he is the sinless one.”

This led Bonhoeffer to pray on Advent Sunday of December 2, 1928:

Lord Jesus, come yourself, and dwell with us, be human as we are, and overcome what overwhelms us.  Come into the midst of my evil, come close to my unfaithfulness. Share my sin, which I hate and which I cannot leave.  Be my brother, Thou Holy God.  Be my brother in the kingdom of evil and suffering and death.

** And theologian Frederick Buechner captures what Bonhoeffer said with these poignant words:  “It is the Resurrection and the life Mary holds in her arms.  It is the bitterness of death he takes at her breast.”

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