The On Ramp to Christmas… continued

by DanWolgemuth on December 6, 2019

In 1968, after a vivid and moving dream about his deceased mother, Paul McCartney put pen to paper for his last song as a member of the Beatles. The song became the title track of the final Beatles album in 1970.

Let it be…

Even as I type these words, the melody and lyrics drift effortlessly across my mind. I was a high school kid at the time. More of a covert than an overt listener to the contemporary tunes of the day, but that’s a story for a different Fragment.

While Paul McCartney and the Beatles made millions off of this inspiration, the most profoundly that these words were uttered were not by a British rock legend.

The Gospel of Luke gives evidence of this…

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:35–38, ESV)

Did you see it? Verse 38, “… let it be to me according to your word.”

Three of the most beautiful, worshipful, honorable, humble and powerful words ever spoken. Not in an act of acquiescence, but faith-filled obedience.

While the questions are still germinating, while the fear is swelling, while the confusion is raw and real… “let it be…”

In three words Mary unpacks her theology, her posture, her submission, her trust, and her love for God.

The answer preceding the question.

A teenager. Just informed that her world will be rocked forever. A young, engaged, poor Jewish girl, shaken to the core.

Could there be a more courageous response? Could any other three words impact history more profoundly and at the same time wash ashore on every human soul?

Let it be…

It’s Jesus in the garden… And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Let it be…

Before a resolution. Before justice. Before comfort. Before the pain leaves. Before my Balance Sheet swells. Before my political party wins. Before I get my say. Before the diagnosis. Before the child returns. Before I meet the perfect someone. Before someone confesses. Before they love back. Before the tears are wiped. Before…

Simply. Beautifully. Reverently. Worshipfully.

Let it be…


Interruptions are often unwelcome, and at times frightening. But just imagine. A young teenaged girl… possibly lost in the anticipation, or fear, or delight of an upcoming marriage. Then, a voice, an exchange, an encounter. With an angel. With Gabriel.

“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

Mary was reeling. Not just on her heels because of the conversation, but because of the words spoken with heavenly clarity, and divine blessing.

“Favored one…”

Then the news.

Conception. Birth. A son. The son of the Most High. A throne. A King. The King. A Kingdom. An everlasting reign.

Then… questions. Practical. Reasonable. Questions.

Answers given. Cosmic answers.

Then… a Notary’s Stamp. Elizabeth. A relative. An old lady. Pregnant. Not alone. Two miracles. A celestial duet. Her questions had a mentor. Her fear had a companion.

Then… silence. “The angel departed from her.”

“Departed.” Alone. With her thoughts. Her questions. Her fear. Alone with her worries about an explanation. A future she thought she could anticipate, now in chaos. Shambles. Nothing, absolutely nothing would ever be the same. One encounter made certain of that.

But now, Gabriel was gone. The silence was deafening. Had she heard correctly? Had she heard at all. The fuse on the cosmic battle of the ages had been lit. God was personally breaking into history. He was making good on a promise He had made to Adam and Eve. It was time to crush the serpent’s head. Now. Through a teenaged girl in a remote Jewish community.

Is there any doubt whether Satan himself spoke words back to Mary? In the vacant space between Gabriel and Elizabeth… words of shame and doubt and disbelief and fear…

But she had a promise to check out. An endorsement to read. Silence was not God’s abandonment, but His sacred space. A place for her soul to be cradled and comforted. An 80-mile walk to Elizabeth. 80 miles to reflect, to remember the lessons of scripture. 80 miles to ponder the childhood lessons of a coming Messiah. 80 miles to recall, to assemble the dream, to unpack the plan. 80 miles to galvanize her resolve.

Silence. The invitation of God to go deeper. Every dirt crunching step an opportunity to bless, anticipate, and worship. In the silence, the memory. “O, favored one.” Words that soaked the dry ground of doubt. She clung to the transcendent promise, “the Lord is with you.” With you in the silence. With you in the uncertainty. With you in the fear. With you in the anticipation. With you. Period.

Silence became the invitation to linger… on her divine purpose and calling.

“A son.” “God’s son…”

Courage birthed. Energy given… for the 80 miles of silence.

And in this, Mary shows us the way. Through doubt. Through fear. Through uncertainty. Through pain.

Silence. Solitude. Noise canceling clarity on the promises of God.

Then and now. After Gabriel and before Elizabeth, we wait. In the silence. We listen. We reflect. We worship. One dust crunching step after the next. Walking to the next promise of God.

Never alone, even in the silence.


The On-Ramp to Christmas…

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From time to time over the last six months, a stagnant memory or reflection stirs in my soul as I think about 26 hours in lock up. Most urgently I’m drawn back to the simple and straightforward process of “intake”. It’s the activity of separating the resident from the last remnant of personal belongings. Individual […]

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“How are you?” The question crosses our lips or pushes into our ears over and over again. And most often the reply swirls around some variation of… “I’m busy…” Busy. Rushed. Maybe even squashed and breathless and frantic… Have you been there? Are you there? Are the people around you there? As always, the life […]

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Praying with a view…

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Thumbnail image for Praying with a view…

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. (Luke 19:41–42, ESV) Jesus prayed with a view. His eyes stirred His soul. And His soul reacted […]

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15% Unleashed

October 11, 2019

Yesterday I received this update about Jackie Eads, a precious friend from Miami… Jackie’s heart is only working at around 15%… 15%. The number both discouraged me and inspired me. In reality, Jackie’s heart, functioning at 15% is more effective, compassionate, thoughtful, generous, wise, tender, focused, faithful, gentle, and loving than mine. At 15%. This […]

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Seven Miles

October 4, 2019

Another flight. Another push back from the gate. Another routine safety speech. We rolled unceremoniously to the end of the runway and as the 737 engines began to roar, a young child’s voice from several rows behind me pierced the moment… “Are we going into the sky?” Light laughter from those who could hear followed […]

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September 27, 2019

Over the past 14 years, Mary and I have watched the beautiful pine forests of Colorado succumb to the onslaught of Mountain Pine Beetle and Spruce Beetle.  Hundreds of thousands of acres have been impacted. Vibrant, year round green, gives way to yellowing needles, then a season of lifeless grey… and finally dead branches lose […]

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