A quote from a blog by Dan Salyers (You can read the entire post HERE)
Bonhoeffer writes, “From the Christian point of view there is no special problem about Christmas in a prison cell. For many people in this building it will probably be a more sincere and genuine occasion than in places where nothing but the name is kept. That misery, suffering, poverty, loneliness, helplessness, and guilt mean something quite different in the eyes of God… that Christ was born in a stable because there was no room for him in the inn-these are things that a prisoner can understand better than other people” (Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, 166).
This passage strikes me because I’ve never considered how the Christmas story can resonate with individuals who have no home, family, or safe haven to go to at Christmas time. Not just for prisoners, but for the homeless and the lonely people in the world, the Christmas story has a special message for all of them: Christ entered this world in a similar circumstance. Joseph and Mary were travelling and trying to find a space for Jesus to be born. The only space left was in a stable area. The humility of Christ’s birth speaks to those whose existence can only be described as “humble.”
Bonhoeffer, as a prisoner, knew isolation and loneliness at Christmas. He though, unlike so many, had a loving family who came to see him when they were permitted and who missed him at Christmastime in their home. How many of his fellow prisoners felt a much deeper loneliness and isolation than he did because they had no such support? How many prisoners incarcerated today feel a similar loneliness and isolation, especially at the holidays?
Whether surrounded by friends and family, or alone, we pray that this Holiday Season, and New Years will be a time of healing and renewal… both for you and for those who feel alone and forgotten.