Let It Be

Let It Be
Christmas always gets me thinking about the Beatles’ song Let It Be. I know, not the typical seasonal carol or holiday jingle, but still a beautiful song for Christmastime. I first made this connection when I heard the song mentioned in a Christmas sermon a few years ago. The gospel passage for the day was the story from Luke of the angel’s visit to Mary, and my pastor told the congregation that Let It Be was written as a hymn to the Virgin Mary and showed how we could all better learn to do God’s will. He quoted the opening lines:
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
It’s an easy assumption to make. When the angel appears to Mary and tells her she’s going to have a child, she resigns herself to do God’s will saying, “let it be with me just as you say.”
But, I scoffed at this suggestion, being the natural-born scoffer that I am. I knew that Paul McCartney had written this song about his late mother, whose name was also Mary. During a difficult period in his life, before the break-up of the Beatles, and before he had met his wife, Linda, Paul had a dream in which his mother (who had passed away when he was only fourteen) appeared to him and said very gently, very reassuringly, “let it be.” Upon waking, he immediately went to the piano and began composing the song that would become Let It Be.
And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
I left church that morning explaining these facts to my husband. Anyone with a basic knowledge of Beatles music would know that they would never write a song that was so overtly Christian! How ridiculous! He simply stared at me blankly and I realized that I had gotten it all wrong.
It was the message that was most important. Even Paul McCartney would later describe this experience as a turning point in his life. He could finally let go of his worries and problems and allow his life to unfold as it was meant to. And hadn’t Mary done the same thing? She was visited by a heavenly messenger who told her that she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit and that her child would be called, “‘Son of the Highest,” and all she had to say was, “let it be.”
I realized both Paul and Mary are inviting us to do the same thing. Let it happen as it will happen. Let something greater than myself be my guide. Let my path unfold as it should so I can best fulfill my purpose for the world. Sometimes, we cling so desperately to our own desires that it’s difficult to accept what God wants for us, but this is exactly what the song and the gospel passage are asking us to do.
It’s interesting that when we end our prayers we say the Hebrew word “amen” or, as it is roughly translated into English, “let it be.” It’s as if every time we ask for something we want, we are supposed to be reminded that those dreams and hopes are really in the hands of One who is outside us.
So, in this beautiful season of hope and joy and love, I pray that we can all hear the voice of God, calling us to be the best version of ourselves, to fulfill His plan for us, and that, when the time comes, we can all say, “let it be.”
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