I think we’re going to have an exceptionally good Christmas. The very fact that outward circumstance precludes our making provision for it will show whether we can be content with what is truly essential. I used to be very fond of thinking up and buying presents, but now that we have nothing to give, the gift God gave us in the birth of Christ will seem all the more glorious; the emptier our hands, the better we understand what Luther meant: We are beggars, it’s true. The poorer our quarters, the more clearly we perceive that our hearts should be Christ’s home on earth.
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Letter to his fiancée Maria von Wedemeyer,” December 1, 1943, in God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas (Westminster John Knox, 2012), 6.