“Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel!
    Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!…
    the Ruler of Israel, the Holy One, is in your midst,
        you have no further misfortune to fear….
            Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
    The Holy One is in your midst, a mighty savior;
    God will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in love.” (Zephaniah 3)

Another outlandish Advent promise: “You have no further misfortune to fear.”
God, you mustn’t be watching cable news or listening to talk shows.
You assure us that, even if our hearts are frightened as we face the future,
fear will not paralyze us.
Amid pandemics and plagues, tempests and tragedies, you remain with us.
Let us listen to You. Let us hear You. Let us follow You and Your Beloved One, Jesus,
who has come into our world of tears and fears –
Jesus, who promises never to leave us.

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding 
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, ch. 1)