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God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  953 ratings  ·  106 reviews
"There are only two places where the powerful and great in this world lose their courage, tremble in the depths of their souls, and become truly afraid. These are the manger and the cross of Jesus Christ."

"No priest, no theologian stood at the cradle of Bethlehem. And yet, all Christian theology finds its beginnings in the miracle of miracles, that God became human."

Paperback, 98 pages
Published August 30th 2010 by Westminster John Knox Press
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God is in the Manger by Dietrich BonhoefferWatch for the Light by Thomas AquinasAdvent and Christmas Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton by G.K. ChestertonAdvent and Christmas with Thomas Merton by Thomas MertonThis Season... Have Love/Have Faith by Tamara Philip
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Burgandy Ice
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is not your average Christmas devotional. This book does not bounce through the events leading up to and following the birth of Jesus like I expected from a book subtitled "Reflections on advent and Christmas".

For one, the writing is heavy, deep, originally written in the 1940's in German by someone who stood up against Hitler's control of Germany at the time. Some of the insights in this book come from the writer's experience in prison, where he was hanged at 39 years of age, less than thr
Christopher Esget
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a phenomenal book. I've read it each Advent—Epiphany for three years now.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Reflections for Advent and the twelves days of Christmas. Comprised of short reflections for each day of Advent, most were based on sermons and others on letters Bonhoeffer wrote during his years in Nazi concentration camps. Knowing of his eventual execution only days before the end of the war, there were some parts that took my breath away in wonder at the unwavering bravery in the face of such hardship, as well as the uncertainty at one's own mortality. To have so much faith and hope is incomp ...more
The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is, a season of waiting for the Last Advent, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.

The purity of the gospel is within these pages of Advent. The waiting, the silence of the heart where away from distractions, we see and experience our need for Jesus. Emmanuel-God with Us. It was a Mary experience away from the Martha treadmill. You are at the feet of Jesus.

Bonhoeffer I am sure spent hi
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A meditative book worth rereading prior to Christmas again next year.

Key quotes:
• Jesus stands at the door knocking (Rev. 3:20). In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. 98
• Through all the Advents of our life that we celebr
Cynthia Egbert
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I had to go ahead and give this five stars because ever page felt like a feast. I put a hold on this from a distant library since it wasn't in our library system back in late September and it just barely came through so I did not have it for my Advent experience, but it really doesn't matter, it is a treasure. I did get a copy on my Kindle so that I can use it for next year's Advent. There is no way for me record all that I loved from this one, but here is a taste.

"In the midst of the deepest gu
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
These are very useful and edifying edited Advent and Christmas devotionals that force the reader to deal with the reality of the incarnation and the tension of the right now and not yet aspects of the Christian life. They do make a great compliment to the Advent and Christmas season. If read in sequence, there are daily devotions that last the reader from December 1 - January 6.

The material in this book is taken partly from the book of collated, Bonhoeffer writings, called, "I Want to Live These
Dec 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This was offered as a free audiobook through Christian Audio. While there was nothing wrong with the quality of the book or the production of the audio, it did not translate well to a listening experience. I needed the words in front of me to let them sink in. I got the sense that there was something very, very rich here, but I was missing it. I'd like to try this one again next year, but reading it instead of just listening.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lovely, but I wish I had given this more time and reflection. I'll most likely return to this again next advent.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is mostly a thematic collection of selections from Bonhoeffer's sermons. Each week of advent and Christmas has a theme, and the daily selections reflect that theme. Each sermon selection is followed by an excerpt from another sermon, essay, book, or letter by Bonhoeffer (a few are from other Christian writers), and each day ends with a related scripture.

I enjoyed the reflective nature of these daily devotions as I moved through the advent season toward Christmas.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Two pages per day of Advent - 1 passage summing up the theme of the day, 1 writing, mostly from Bonhoeffer, and 1 scripture passage. It was nice to have a short reading for each day to consider the overall themes of the season. I often found the introductory passage to be too ethereal and metaphorical and had trouble connecting with it, which is why I deducted a star.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
This is a challenging devotional. Take the time to let the words sink in. You will find gratitude for your own situation in these readings regardless of what it might be. Bonhoeffer is a truly remarkable man. I wish that there were more like him in this world.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another profitable year of Advent readings with this little gem.
Dec 05, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: audiobooks
Day 1 was amazing. I've never thought of waiting fort the 2nd coming as Advent before, but now I don't think I'll be able to not think of every day as Advent.
Gorgeous. I cried during several passages. I will read this again in future years- probably every year. Bonhoeffer was a master with words and the message.
Mark Roossinck
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, devotional
Challenging devotionals based upon the incarnation of Christ.
Tracey the Bookworm
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Daily readings for the 4 weeks of Advent compiled from the writings of Bonhoeffer.

The writing is deep and requires re-reading. I felt close to the true spirit of Christmas as each day I took time to reflect on the words.

I read this as part of a challenge to read 12 books between 1st November and 6th January that helped me to bring the true spirit of Christmas into my life. One of the things I gained by this was an understanding of how much this centred me daily on my life in Christ. Because of
Mike E.
Jan 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This Advent devotional begins in November and ends 6 January. Each day's reading has 3 parts, one from Scripture and the others, usually, from Bonhoeffer. The editor occasionally includes entries from another author.


God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment. No evil can befall us; whatever men may do to us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world in our lives.

Letter to fiancé from prison, 12/13/1943

I think
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This past holiday season I read this daily advent devotional by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian and pastor who was arrested by the Third Reich for his resistance, imprisoned for two years, and executed three weeks before Hitler's suicide. Each day's devotional is a combination of his writings, his letters (many written while in prison to his fiancé and family), and scripture; and the devotionals are organized into weekly themes -- Waiting, Mystery, Redemption, Incarnation -- and conclud ...more
Justin Tapp
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church, spiritual
When I was growing up, Advent was something non-Baptist churches did and I equated it with Lent. I'm glad that Advent has become more widespread and that even Baptist churches are putting out their own Advent devotions. This book is a popular Advent devotional, and it should be; it's a fascinating and thought-provoking read. I listened to this book on my commutes as I considered it akin to the sermons I often listen to on the drive. It was available online through my local library, provided by C ...more
Dec 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Like other Goodreads reviewers, I received, *God is in the Manger* by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as a free audiobook of the month through Some books are good for listening and others are not. *God is in the Manger* needs to be read, not heard. The quotes are short and go by quickly. Bonhoeffer's statements are meaty. They are taken from *Letters and Papers from Prison* and various Advent/Christmas sermons, and as a result, need reflection, meditation, and contextualization. Listeni ...more
Alan Brehm
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a collection of reflections from Bonoeffer's writings previously published in "I Want To Live These Days With You" (2007). This previous collection is admirable in that it gives volume and page references to Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke, the German edition of Bonoeffer's collected works. "God is in the Manger" would have been a better publication if the editor had included this kind of source material, at the very least consistent references to "I Want to Live These Days With You." Unfortun ...more
Michael Poteet
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very powerful and accessible collection, culled from Bonhoeffer's books, sermons, and letters. I am embarassed to admit I haven't read much of Bonhoeffer (only "Life Together"), but this devotional compilation will definitely motivate me to do so in the new year. Bonhoeffer viewed his imprisonment as an extended, lived-out "Advent season," so he has a lot of first-hand wisdom to share about what it really means to "wait upon the Lord." He also pulls no punches about what the Incarnation ought ...more
JD Sutter
A short devotional book with some interesting insights about the birth of Christ. While I do not agree with all of Bonhoeffer's theology I did glean a few tidbits from this book that made it worthwhile.

Favorite Quotations:

"Possessions delude the human heart into believing that they provide security and a worry-free existence, but in truth they are the very cause of worry. For the heart that is fixed on possessions, they come with a suffocating burden of worry. Worries lead to treasure, and treas
John Martindale
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian, audiobook offered this audiobook for free and I enjoyed it for the most part. Bonhoeffer primarily wants us to wrap our head around the fact that the almighty God, who we worship, became a human child. Our God who created the universe, was found in a animal feed box by lowly shepherds. This is something truly shocking, awe-inspiring and just plan WOW, when you think about it. To be honest there really isn't a way to wrap our head around, God in the Manger. It is a truth so profound and ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bonhoeffer's God in a Manger is as hopeful as is the season of Advent. It is almost as important to know of the author's background when reading these reflections as they present a certain context that despite being actively persecuted in Nazi Germany, the author still had the capacity for hope. The book contains sermons and correspondence from the 1920s to just before his death in 1945. It acts as a wonderful primer to the author’s prolific writings.

Bonhoeffer would be put to death by the Nazis
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious-books
(3.5) I bought this book under the wrong pretense. I had assumed it was devotionals written solely by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In fact, it's comprised of devotionals inspired (mostly) by his work. Some of the days worked a lot better than others but the ones that did really stuck with me, particularly the emptiness of waiting for Advent juxtaposed with the furious consumption of the commercialized holiday season. I'm not big on devotionals but most of the others I've done have been hit-or-miss too. ...more
Steve Campbell
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is more depth here than in the average Advent devotional. The editor has pulled together selections from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's writings that touch on issues related to Advent and Christmas. The material is organized by theme: week one is waiting, week two is mystery, week three is redemption, week four is incarnation, and the rest of the devotional focuses on the twelve days of Christmas and Epiphany. This is not a devotional that you want to read quickly as you are on your way out the doo ...more
Carlos Pellot
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Read this short devotional book twice over Advent and Christmas 2011. It consists mostly of snippets of Bonhoeffer's sermons and letters, many of these latter ones written while in prison. The book is gold in its depth of theological thought and insights about the Incarnation of Christ. Bonhoeffer as a preacher was actually pretty solid and I appreciate immensely his reflective writing style and tone. Bonhoeffer! What else can you expect? Come Advent and Christmas this year, here's a book I whol ...more
Tanya Marlow
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Collection of Bonhoeffer’s and others’ theological reflections on Advent themes.

I bought this book because it’s one of the Advent books Addie Zierman recommends. It consists of a page or two of theological reflection on Advent themes.

While I liked this book and it makes a good devotional, it should be noted that it’s a collection of Bonhoeffer’s (and others’) writings on Advent collated together, and so feels a little more scattered than a single-author book on the subject. Some of it felt a b
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was also a participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism, a founding member of the Confessing Church. His involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler resulted in his arrest in April 1943 and his subsequent execution by hanging in April 1945, sho ...more

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