by Evangeline Denmark How I long to touch them. To feel the grace of his breath as I feel the burning of his glory.

I did not always yearn so.

Once I nestled at the galaxy’s edge, fascinated with the speck of splendor entrusted to me. Content among the heavenly bodies, I gazed on the reflected light around me, wrapped in my own burning mantle.

When darkness pierced our ranks, only a ripple reached our band of sky. We felt the echo of the curse, my kindred and I, but why should we turn? Why should we look away from our changeless rite? Our glory remained safe, perpetually on display for the universe to see.

Ages passed, unmarked by we, the bearers of his heavenly fire.

By the time we acknowledged the ache it was a heavy thing, an agony surrounding us. We raised our faces to the one whose fingers formed our cores. He gathered us to his breast.

“Look down, my shining ones.”

I looked and I quaked at the darkness beneath me. No. Turn away. Pull the glory tight around me and hide.

But He could not look away. He watched them. Yearned for them. Walked among them in forms they saw not. And we, his stars, ceased to revel in our shared sacrament. We hung above the suffering sphere, our gazes on the creatures below. His name crossed their lips with every breath and yet they did not know it, speak it, or call upon its majesty.

In my distress, I grew jealous of that divine breath, that unconscious grace each of them carried. How did that soft rush of spirit, in and out, compare to my never-ending flame? Why did they not revel in it? He’d give them his name—Yahweh—to sustain them. But they were deaf to the rhythm.

His love and grief for the breathing creation remade my jealousy, reforming it into fascination and such longing.

Oh, when will You touch them with Your light?

We stooped. We circled. We watched. Heavy we hung with his anguish.

Is it time? Oh, draw back the veil.

The waters of the deep joined our vigil. With every mighty sway, they begged, “Come. Come to us.”

The living plants reached for him, bloom and branch stretching for the light.

Even the animals remembered the comfort lost and called for his return.

Still the darkness grew, trampling and choking, consuming. My kindred threw down their rays in mute battle, but I turned my face to him whose glory could end darkness forever.

“Come with me,” he commanded.

Slide low. Dive low. Plummet through the heavens on a glory track. Darkness will evaporate in the light of his unleashed glory. We are coming in a blaze.

But no.

He enfolds his glory within the body of a woman. He waits in the closeness.

I hover on the edge of their dark planet, impatient, ready to break forth in blinding light the moment he bids.

The woman breathes his name and within her soul grows recognition, hope. She looks up and though I am cloaked, awaiting the ordained moment, I am certain she sees me. Glory lights her face. I can’t help myself. I strain to touch her, seeing kindred in her glowing features. But the blaze dissipates, dissolving into flecks that mingle with her entrusted grace. Ah, that grace that has me longing for a taste, for the softest of his touches, which he reserves for them.

A little while. A practiced lullaby. A woman alight yet laboring.

Darkness stills.

His name passes her lips in gusts and groans and she marks it, knows her breath for what it is as she bears down, acknowledging his presence with her life thread.

Now!

He appears. Glory and grace wrapped together, the revelation of who and what he has always been. Power equal with love.

And I feel it. Grace pulsing like breath in my very core.

And I shine. I touch the earth with my long and mighty rays. Darkness is undone. It flees, leaving the breathing creation to look up and see his glory. They gasp and with that collective draw of air they take him in—He who was ever as close as their lips and lungs. In their awe, they pull him in and hold his grace close, turning it over and examining it as something new and ancient.

In the heavens, the shroud of separation is lifted. My kindred radiate. The host pours forth from Zion, and the realms on earth and above earth meet. Forever we shall be entwined with one another, a creation made complete by the Creator joining it.

In the stable, in the streets, in the fields, and in the deep a breath is drawn and released.

Glory binds itself to hands and feet.

Grace settles in homes of flesh and bone.

Hope leaves no one alone.

For into darkness a Light has come.