Still? Seriously?

           This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.
                           —Mark 13.8

Seriously—January 5th, and we’re still on Christmas?
Can’t we move on, now?

We follow a different path than the rest of the world.
They are rushing on to the next thing. Let them go.

This, today, this is the moving on.
This is the movement, the birthing,
which takes as long as it takes.
Justice unfolds slowly.
There’s no shortcut to the Realm of God,
no beginner’s luck to repentance.

Give thanks for a God who walks with us,
and with us, and with us.
And pack for a long trip.

But stop counting and be present.
Abandon escape. Renounce the desire
to be perennially elsewhere.
The One who Was and Ever Shall Be
Is. Now. Here.
That is enough.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Opened

          Now when Jesus had been baptized
          and was praying,
          the heaven was opened.

                           —Luke 3.21

Look down
into still water

and see up
into clear heavens.

Be immersed in the depths
of the sky,

the deep earth of heaven.
They flow, they blend.

Here, your flesh of dust and breath,
of fire and water

lives—grounded,
held, opened,

immersed in the paradise
that opens and flows into the world.

There is no difference,
no separation.

Waters open, and heaven,
and your life,

and through opening,
blessed, flow.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

A new heaven and earth

           Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
           for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
           and the sea was no more.

                           —Revelation 21.1

To imagine the earth passed away
in these days of climate crisis,
fascism and greed
is not hard. It looms.

Child, all things are passing.
You will die. Humans will vanish.
Never mind when. Live now.
With love and courage
dance with beauty,
be a sign of hope, act for justice,
no matter the outcome.

What we see as the end
is merely moving into the unknown,
where the Loving One will be present.

Let the vision speak not to planets or politics
but your inner being.
Let go of who you are, even the treasures,
the earth and sea of you drowned in God.
Allow God to re-create you.
If you are reborn of grace,
nothing to come—
even the most drastic loss or change—
will frighten you;
love will prevail.


Happy New Breath

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Gifts

           They knelt down and paid him homage.
           Then, opening their treasure chests,
           they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

                           —Matthew 2.11


I offer the gift of my gold,
my generosity.
May all that I spend be done in faith.
May every dollar reflect my love for you
and your will.

I offer the gift of my frankincense,
my prayerfulness.
May all I do be in mindfulness of your presence.
May I treat every person with reverence,
every moment with gratitude,
every action with trust in your grace.

I offer the gift of my myrrh,
my mortality, my being.
I shall one day die;
meanwhile my life belongs to you, not me.
May I spend my short time in this life
with love and humility.

I willingly surrender my life to you,
that I may enter into the new year
not as a self-protected individual,
but as a generous, trusting, joyful member
of the Body of your Love.

Here. Receive me.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Troubled

           When King Herod heard of the child,
           he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him.

                           —Matthew 2.3


Beware the faith that judges the world
but leaves your own sin intact;
for God, who deeply loves us as we are,
does not intend to leave us that way.
Pray for the courage to love a God
who comes to remake you.

Let the Herod who sits on your throne be frightened,
and see in his fear his weakness.
Let your privilege be troubled;
for God who transforms everything
begins with you.
Be prepared to let go of the world you know and love,
so you may receive the world
you have not yet imagined.

Jesus says in the Gospel of Thomas,

           Let one who seeks
                      not stop until one finds.
           When one finds,
                      one will be troubled.
           When one is troubled,
                      one will marvel,
                      and rule over all things.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Herod

           When King Herod heard of the child,
           he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him.

                           —Matthew 2.3


Beware the faith that does not trouble the world.
Beware of the false prophets who judge the world
but leave the powerful in their places.
What the Magi believe, Herod understands viscerally:
the Prince of Peace comes
to usurp the power of the princes of this world,
to replace oppression with justice.

The Star of Epiphany is the light of Creation;
for God comes not just to save you
but to remake the world.

Be mindful you follow a dangerous man.
Expect the world to be alarmed at your savior.
Pray for the courage to follow:
surely Herod will retaliate,
for power always resists grace.
The love of power is always frightened
at the power of love.
Know this, and stay faithful.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Seeking

           Magi from the East came to Jerusalem, asking,
           “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?”

                           —Matthew 2.1-2

They weren’t searching for treasure.
They weren’t hoping to meet emperors or movie stars.
They must have declined 100 invitations to digress
and temptations to turn around.
They likely encountered the cutest kids in the world—
but not the one they sought.

In your dealings, your duties digressions,
it’s easy to look for trouble, look for the advantage,
look for fault, look for comfort.
It’s easy to settle for sentiment, for fitting in, for happiness.
Don’t. Resist the distractions.
Seek the holy.

Seek the divine,
even in those who do not know it in themselves.
Seek the hopeful even in the dull and despairing.
Notice those moments of courageous love,
of suffering wisdom and gentle resolve.
The Christ child—the vulnerable presence of God—
is among us.
Look.
Look deeper.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Published
Categorized as Reflections

You come

You come,
yearned for but uninvited,
defenseless and undefended,
to touch our hunger for what we didn’t know we lacked,
to sit with us in silence before the great mystery,
to live gently among our wars and insults,
to accompany us in all that is terrible and wonderful.
You bring the great blanket of the universe
with you, wrap it around our shoulders,
and behold the night.
An infant, you come, not to command but to evoke.
Gazing into your newborn eyes
we become lovers, beautiful and noble
and generous and brave.
You come to share our disappointment with us
so that we might share your hope.
You come into our uncertainties
and show us how to be ourselves.
Welcome, Beloved, welcome.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Word made flesh

           The Word became flesh and lived among us.
                           —John 1.14


Christmas is not merely about a little babe once upon a time,
but the Incarnation: God’s Word made flesh,
God’s love embodied among us,
God’s will, that is, God’s delight, living among us
and within us, the miracle of living itself.
This is a new Creation,
the bursting forth of God’s light in our darkness,
the birthing of God’s love in our hearts.
This is a day of our belonging,
as God, in infinite power and love,
chooses to belong to us, who belong to God.
This day we celebrate the undoing of our undoing:
the healing of our imagined wound:
for now we know, from manger to cross,
God is one of us, and we are one of God.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Peace

Amid the bustling and the noise,
the chores and obligations and distractions,
may the peace of God—the harmony of all things—
be with you.
Amid the conflict, the fear and rage,
may the peace of God—infinite love and forgiveness—
be with you.
As the babe in a mother’s arms is at peace,
may you be at peace in God.

As the resting mother is at peace
gratefully holding her child, safely delivered,
her love flowing mightily,
may you be at peace
with God in your arms.
The deep, flowing peace of God be with you.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Published
Categorized as Reflections