When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi,
        he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children
        in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under.
        Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: 
                “A voice was heard in Ramah,
                        wailing and loud lamentation,
                Rachel weeping for her children;
                        she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
— Matthew 2.16-18

Every year, politely aghast,
we push you aside, Rachel,
firmly usher you off stage
away from the baby
asleep in the manger,
no crying he makes,
so you don’t wake him
with your wailing.
Again this year you aren’t invited
to our pageant.

Let us come and kneel instead
at your cradle—empty—
your wanting lap,
and behold your devastation:
at the prison doors,
the border walls, the tent cities.
For once let’s abandon our denial
that you are the reason he came,
not our comfort and joy,
that our violence is the manger
into which he empties himself,
your grief the abyss he willingly enters.
Your cry is his voice.
With you we shove him offstage,
and our complicity—
until we confess
we have ravaged the manger;
this is Good Friday,
and he does not bear his cross alone.

For you, Rachel,
and your children,
we still our confident carols,
hold silence,
and let your lamentation
be the song of our angels.      

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

December 27, 2019

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