THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Tuesday, February 23rd
Read Luke 2:8-20.
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
“Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Luke 2:15 (NRSV)
The earthly life of Jesus began with Mary’s first LET: Let it be with me according to your word… (Luke 1:38).* Through Mary’s willingness to let God use her life as the mother of Jesus, our own lives have been forever blessed. Another Let is found in the story of Jesus’s birth, in the words of the shepherds after they had been greeted by the angels: “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” This is our spiritual invitation for today.
Let us also go now to Bethlehem – and revisit Jesus as a tiny baby, born humbly in austere surroundings. As we envision Mary holding her precious infant, marveling at this little life, innocent and helpless, we may wonder if she could know all that would be in store for him… and her. I am reminded of one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Welcome to Our World.” Chris Rice’s lyrics bring tears each time I hear them. I picture Jesus as an innocent, helpless baby who would one day bear a cross, wear a crown of thorns, and endure a terrible suffering and death.
Sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Whose blood will save us
Unto us is born1
When I was young, I imagined that Jesus could bear the hardships of his life – even his death on the cross – better than I could, because he held super powers as God’s son. The more I began to understand Jesus as fully of God but also very fully human, the more I have appreciated how much he must have worried, agonized, suffered, and endured terrible pain. Growing in this humble awareness and profound gratitude has kindled my deeper love for him.
Let us go to Bethlehem today, and hold in our hearts this tiny, helpless baby who is truly one of us. Let us love this child who only lived in love and truth, and was tortured and killed for doing so. Let us be deeply grateful that God’s love was shown both incredibly and intimately. Let us always remember that Jesus was fully human, so we never forget how much we are divinely loved.
May we let the Bethlehem story remind us today of God’s infinite goodness, shown to us in the tender infant Jesus, so that we may grow in gratitude, awe, and devotion.
The Bible reading for tomorrow is Matthew 3:1-17.
*For another reflection on Mary’s LET, you may revisit this Advent post: Advent #10: Love In The Limbo.
Bible verses are from BibleGateway.com