Jesus, Make Us Poor

December 24, 2017 by

“Make us poor. Make us weak.” These are not the sentiments that usually fill my heart when I think of Christmas. Even though I don’t buy expensive gifts for my loved ones, Christmas has always been a time of celebrating for me – candlelight, cookies, carols, and Glühwein (a hot, spiced wine). All of that has its place.

But Christmas is really about God becoming human in Jesus. Christmas is a time for us to consider whether our lives truly reflect his example.

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painting of children around a manger

“Children at the Manger” by Brenna Huleatt

Eberhard Arnold wrote this poem after he and his family left their comfortable middle class life in Berlin to start living in community. They faced tremendous odds, but at the same time experienced tremendous joys. This poem was put to music and has become a favorite Christmas carol that our community often sings at our Christmas Eve service. It points us to the mystery of Christmas: that God himself – the Richest – made himself poor, the Strongest made himself weak. More than that, Jesus is “the light of stars” and “the strength of life.” He is our assurance as we face the uncertainties of a new year.

Here is a recording of Eberhard’s poem set to music by Marlys Swinger:

Below is the English translation from Poems and Rhymed Prayers:

Christmas! Holy night of nights
that made the very Richest poor –
you pierce the darkness with your light;
powers of night cannot endure.
Jesus is the light of stars.
Jesus is the strength of life!
And he does for the world’s poor,
things beyond the world’s belief.
Make us poor through your great love,
Jesus, poor like you, we plead.
Make us weak – weak in your strength.
Show us mercy in our need.

About the author

Emmy Maendel

Emmy Maendel

Emmy Maendel, an author with a particular interest in Bruderhof history, writes a regular blog post featuring timely...

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