Magi from the East came to Jerusalem, asking,
         “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?
         For we observed his star at its rising,
         and have come to pay him homage.”
         When King Herod heard this, he was frightened.

               —Matthew 2.1-3

Herod is afraid.
This is the root of his strutting, his meanness,
his cruelty to children, the poor and wayfarers,
his disdain of anyone who doesn't adore him.
He is afraid. This is the well of his bluster,
the spring of his violence and hatred.
In his fear he will insult his critics,
threaten his neighbors and and assault the weak.
In desperate fear he will strain for every illusion
of his grandeur, his excellence, his power.
He is most afraid of light,
so he will sow darkness and veil the truth.
He is most afraid of love,
so he will grow a calloused heart,
and tremble at true gentleness.
He is most afraid of grace,
so he will send his army to slaughter.
But he has already lost. This is why he is afraid.
He is no match for love and light and grace.
His evil has already failed.
His victims are already resurrected.
We are not afraid.

   —December 4, 2018