Rogue star

           Ahead of them went the star
           that they had seen at its rising,
           until it stopped over the place where the child was.

                           —Matthew 2.9

Odd star, no?
Rose in the east (all things rise in the east)
but scooted westward for the magi to follow—
then stopped.
Not easy for a star above a rotating planet.
Stopped and stooped, apparently:
low enough to hover over a single house.
A star that nobody else, including Herod,
seems to have noticed.
A rogue star, noncompliant with the laws of stardom.

Step over the ashes of the arguments of the literalists.
Take the story as it is.
The revelation of God will come to you
in ways that make no sense,
cannot be explained, exploited, or replicated—
heck, you can’t even talk about it sensibly.
But it is there, and it shines— in an unassuming baby,
a tender conversation, a healing, a feeling,
a fleeing family, somehow luminous,
a moment when the earth seems to hold you gently,
or just staring out the window and knowing something
unnameable, warm and attractive.
The star will go ahead of you, it will stop over you,
it will wink but not go out. It will go on.
Let your heart be led by the rogue star of God.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections


           Magi from the East came…
                           —Matthew 2.1

In you, deep enough to be foreign,
  someone seeks.

Has seen a light, a star, small,
  but enough to awaken.

Sojourns through this world,
  unceasing, undeterred.

Yearns athwart the powers that be,
          will not be co-opted.
Desires a desire traitorous to desire,
          triumphs in kneeling humbly.

Bears gifts, not demands,
          honor, not dominance.

Finds another road, always
          another way to get there.

Be still, long enough for your sky to clear.
          Let the wise ones gaze.

What is that star?
          Where is the heart’s compass?

You will find,
          and never finish finding.

Take courage.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections


Little birds in the woods,
they know how to sing,
they know how to hide.

The Prince of Peace is here.
Of course Herod has heard,
his men are sharpening their swords.

The prince of peace is a four year old child
who will need feeding and protecting,
and long waiting.

But he is here,
among the forgotten, the overlooked,
blamed and at risk, but here.

In his being is his working.
He knows how to hide,
he knows how to sing.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections

Light in the darkness

           We have seen his star.
                      —Matthew 2.2

           The light shines in the darkness,
           and the darkness can not overcome it.
                           —John 1.5

A star no despot can hide,
a sun no tyrant can cover.
A candle a hurricane can’t put out.
The gleam in a lover’s eye no sorrows can darken.
Beloved, you are in this world.
No thickness of night—and it is sometimes it is thick—
can dim the light of your presence.
No bushel of trouble can cover the candle of your grace.
No evil can bury, no cross overcome
the light of your love.
When our hearts are broken,
when the pall is lowered over us, shine.
When my eyes fail,
when my world goes dark,
shine in my heart,
you, my hope, my love, my day.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections

Word made flesh

           The Word became flesh and stayed with us;
           and we have seen the Word’s glory,
           favored and beloved as an only child,
           overflowing with grace, shining with truth.
                           —John 1.14

The Beloved walks among us.
The miracle is not on one holy night,
but in every created thing:
your Word takes on substance,
your love is embodied,
not a sentiment but an act,
not a wish but a creation,
your living child, begotten of love,
actual and real and forceful
and dwelling with us.
Every living being is holy.
This world brims with your goodness.
The Beloved walks among us.
Glory to you, O God,
and peace on earth.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections


           We know that the whole creation
                      has been groaning in labor pains until now…
           but if we hope for what we do not see,
                      we wait for it with patience.
                                 —Romans 8.22, 25

Mary, teach me, your gestational faith,
the courage of your patience,
to trust God’s slow, inexorable work.
God, give me strength to stand still
against anxiety’s shrill bustle
and the world’s flustered hurry,
and my own insistent urge.
In a world desperate to be saved
give me patience to wait,
to hope and wait,
to trust and wait.
For the goodness within,
like the holy child,
grows until the fullness of time.
God of the long run,
give me the patience of Mary.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections


Beloved, you who hold the universe
in tender arms, who cradle galaxies,
whose call in darkness birthed forth light at first,
look on us now as only love’s eye sees.

Our fear has festered, and has found fair soil
in which to grow, bear fruit and choke our love,
so we in selfishness spread hurt, and spoil
the very world we’re so enamored of.

Yet this is yours. Each wound, each sin, each slight
you occupy with that same voice to call
forth grace, to heal, to birth new light.
The angels’ “news” is older than the Fall.

O you who love this world, in this world be,
in Mary, in the manger, and in me.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections

Blessed darkness

A solstice meditation for both hemispheres

Blessed darkness, mystery’s robe,
host of all that exceeds our sight,
sanctuary of the unknown,
today you hold us near.
This night, this longest night,
when mystery emerges
from her chambers to sing,
tonight we offer up to you
our certainty we see it all;
tonight you close our eyes
and bid us dream.
Come, precious darkness,
give us a world
that is more than we can see.
Come, gentle darkness,
and hold a space
for our humble candles
to warm our hearts,
for the smallest star to shine
and lead us to the manger.

            ——— (the Equator)————

Blessed darkness, womb and shelter,
rest for weary eyes,
today you begin your long return.
This day, this longest day,
we offer up to you
our looking and our seeking
for your treasure.
Come, healing darkness,
on this, our longest day of labors,
and bid us rest.
Come, enfolding darkness,
close our eyes, pause our searching
and calm our anxious hearts,
for the One we seek seeks us,
and comes, and in the turning light
turns our hearts toward the manger.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections

No angels

Zechariah got an angel.
Mary got an angel, came to her door.
Joseph had regular updates,
angelic GPS directions coming and going.
Even the shepherds got personal notification.
I don’t get angels.
No heavenly messengers sing to me,
point out the miracles, lead the way,
shine with glory, tell me what to do.
But I want to know what this means,
where to look, where to go, what to do.
How do I do this without angels?

God, give me faith to sit tight and listen.

And listen.

To listen to the voice of love
until I know,
and then
to listen to the voice of love
until I sing.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections


Yes, I who stir the star-whirls with a finger
have considered, I have pondered well
what it might be to plunge into not just
the human form but substance, single life:

risk being lost, alone, abandoned (me!)
feel loss or guilt, or suffer being wrong,
betray and be betrayed, with shame and grief,
to hurt, to doubt, and not to know—not know!—

to try and fail to understand myself,
to feel and sometimes fear it, and to find
myself undone, unable to go on.
To weep. To love so hard it wounds…. To die.

I know this. Yet a life removed from life
I will renounce to feel the touch of you,
and wonder, and the miracle of love
unearned but given and received in joy.

I forfeit my defense, surrender all,
and fragile now, as if a newborn child,
stripped bare and swaddled only in my love,
I seek you.
                   I am coming.
                                         I am here.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Categorized as Reflections
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