Don't go near the tree

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                     Don't go near that tree. It looks fit for a holiday, spangled, with gifts brightly wrapped, the fulfillment of our desires. Don't be fooled.

An ax waits at its roots, sharpened for everything but mercy and justice. On this tree hangs the Despised One whose gift is to rob us of our desires and leave us with only compassion, to take our coat and food and make us share them. He comes to baptize us with fire, to winnow out our despair, to burn the chaff of our self-enclosure, to take our security and our weapons and leave us with nothing but the armor of God.

He comes as a poor baby asking to be fed, a refugee begging for home, a prophet toppling our walls, upending our kingdoms of exclusion and privilege that abide lovely presents under the tree bought with blood and abuse, that abide black bodies bleeding in streets, raped in silence, lying in cells. These kingdoms are doomed by the unquenchable fire in that little infant.

Don't go near the tree. It's not safe. The gift under it is repentance. A winnowing fork. An empty grave. It's liable to tip over this world— only so gently we can't stop it— and build a new one you can't recognize

                 except in the eyes of a child, the song of a mother, the hope of poor, cold shepherds on a dark hillside. Don't go near—                  oh, never mind. It's coming anyway.

Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

__________________ Steve Garnaas-Holmes Unfolding Light

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