J. Heinrich Arnold (1913-1982), German-born pastoral counselor and author:
Jesus’ life began in a stable and ended on the cross between two criminals. The Apostle Paul said he wanted to proclaim nothing but this crucified Christ. We, too, have nothing to hold on to except this Christ. We must ask ourselves again and again: Are we willing to go his way, from the stable to the cross? As disciples we are not promised comfortable and good times. Jesus says we must deny ourselves and suffer with him and for him. That is the only way to follow him, but behind it lies the glory of life – the glowing love of God, which is so much greater than our hearts and our lives (Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind).
Edith Stein (1891-1942), German Jewish convert to Catholicism killed at Auschwitz:
The Christian mysteries are an indivisible whole. If we become immersed in one, we are led to all the others. Thus the way from Bethlehem leads inevitably to Golgotha, from the crib to the cross. When the blessed virgin brought the child to the temple, Simeon prophesied that her soul would be pierced by a sword, that this child was set for the fall and the resurrection of many, for a sign that would be contradicted. His prophecy announced the passion, the fight between light and darkness that already showed itself before the crib (The Writings of Edith Stein).