"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, who look forward to something greater to come. For these, it is enough to wait in humble fear until the Holy One himself comes down to us, God in the child in the manger. God comes. The Lord Jesus comes. Christmas comes. Christians rejoice!"
Executed by the Nazis for his complicity in a plot to assassinate Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer remains with us today through his writings - far-reaching ripples of deep thought, passionate words, and unflinching character. Including biographical insights, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons spans Bonhoeffer's 17 years as a preacher. This collection of vintage sermons and writings searches out the power and mystery of the Christmas season: its joyous riches and its implications for our lives.
This collection of Bonhoeffer sermons focuses on "Advent Themes" not just those that he really preached during the Advent and the Christmas seasons. These are interesting listening as you can feel the increasing resistance to the Nazi Ideals in his message as time progresses. Much of the focus on economic crisis, homelessness, polarization of ideology sound surprisingly current-- even though I know he is talking about Germany in the 1930's-40's.
Bonhoeffer traveled a great deal as a preacher living in the US, Cuba and Spain in addition to Berlin. The back story the author presents is engaging. Bonhoeffer's words are powerful.
The problem lies in the narration as the reading is flat and monotone. The sermons run together with the editor/author's writing and the only way I could tell at times that it was no longer Bonhoeffer's words was that the author had started to use the word "he". This was the only signal that there was a shift. I understand that some of the sermons are incomplete as endings have been lost in time--but it was very confusing.
The season of Advent is a time of darkness and waiting. To me more along the lines of a hopeful anticipatory waiting. The life presented in these writings is extremely dark and ominous. Overall, this is a terrifying listen. Bonhoeffer uses his preaching to stand up to the Nazi's and Hitler and is executed because of his powerful beliefs and willingness to speak out.
Rather than sermons that present positive Christmas thoughts and ideas the reader gets a slice of living history in all its terror. I think it best to understand this at the start. Not sure that more editing might not have helped the book. Plus the narrator's sugar-sweet flat voice reading these powerful words felt creepy to me. Maybe not Christmas?
I've never heard a recording of Bonhoeffer's voice but I cannot imagine he'd impact his congregations with a monotone. This would be better if the delivery were more like that of an actual pastor.
I'd like more Bonhoeffer sermons, but maybe assign a public speaker to do it next time.
First, these are not Advent or Christmas sermons, although that is the major theme. But principally, the reading was a disappointment. These were sermons given by a man who was facing martyrdom: Parks reads them casually as off a Teleprompter. Why not give us the feel of a public address, as with the wonderful production of the
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