Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
           Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.

                         —Isaiah 40.1

My people,
as you light candles and sing songs
I hear your hope and longing, yes,
but do not minimize the darker songs beneath that,
the deep energy beneath your yearning:
your grief and your terror.

I see that shadow of what you have lost,
what you have done, what you fear of yourselves,
the looming threat, the smoking ruins.

My people, do not be afraid.
My arms are around you.
I murmur gently to Jerusalem
even in the throes of your fear and anger,
the rage, the devastation, the unthinkable.
I know. I see the splinters of the manger,
the swords of the soldiers,
the nails of the cross. I see them.
And I am coming, not to vanquish,
but to comfort. To heal. To hold you,
with you, always.

Even in your despair, be at peace.
Be still enough to hear me
speaking tenderly.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
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