4 January, Wednesday — Let go to embrace

Wednesday before Epiphany Sunday

1 Jn 3:7-10
Jn 1:35-42

“Come and see

Just after Christmas, in my daily morning prayer journaling (I am a lover of words, and most often when I sit to write, I don’t know what words my pen will put on paper – this is a way that God often speaks to me) as I began to write envisioning 2023, what poured out of my pen was:

“So Lord – about to enter this new year – as we humans deem time – what do You desire for me to focus on – what to look for – to see – to give?…….  To let go of – ??  TO LET GO OF?…….. Lord help me to see the good to let go of – and the great to embrace…..”. 

Letting go rarely comes easy. It is difficult to let go of the familiar, especially when it is ‘good’, and sometimes it’s even (more?) difficult to let go of the ‘not good’, our dangerous self-serving ungodly habits, addictions, attitudes, perspective. Our sins.

Noah, Moses, Jacob, David…Mary Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth and Jesus’ closest friends whom history has recorded for us, they all let go of the good. Immediately left the good for the great. Their plans were changed, and everyone associated with their plans. Though not fully recorded, I imagine that the disciples left jobs, homes, lifestyles, friends, families, even wives and children – all GOOD things – to follow Christ – the better thing. Think of Joseph, how Mary’s pregnancy must have thrown his world into an emotional tailspin. He makes the decision to divorce her quietly, and then an Angel delivers a message from God that again changes the entire perception and direction of the future he planned. Scripture shares a second dream, where God speaks to Joseph, again asking him to let go of the current good for the great. 

And today, the gospel shares with us more on John the Baptist. The one who leapt in the womb of his mother when he came close to the Christ in the womb of Mary. It seems John never hesitated to say YES to the great plans of God. John didn’t even make ‘good’ plans for himself as he truly was dedicated to God from conception, and John WALKED the WALK. John said ‘Yes’ to God and never wavered. He got it from day one – God’s will for his life was all that mattered. John had no will of his own. He made the better choice. He didn’t desire to be of any importance personally. His humility is truly astounding. Even as he is tortured in prison, his message is Christ. The gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent shares about John the Baptist sending his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” It wasn’t that John the Baptist wasn’t sure, it was that he wanted to be sure ALL HIS DISCIPLES knew that Jesus was the Son of God so that they would follow Jesus after his impending death. 

Yes, John the Baptist wanted to ensure that those following him would LET GO OF HIM and follow Jesus the Christ.

A few mornings ago, I reread the words that I had written. I sat back, took a deep breath and smiled, realizing God gave me a glimpse of His response. After all, I don’t need to know the full plan, I just have to make the first step. There is something that is good (I’ll need more praying and discerning to see where God is directing me) I will have to let go of so that I can embrace – or more fully embrace the GREAT, which He desires I spend time on in 2023. I can already feel that this new year will be a journey – wonder if it will flow and be an easy walk, or an uphill climb of missteps, pain, pitfalls, detours and moments of feeling lost or alone or left behind? Only time will tell, but I will rest assured (hopefully each day) in the knowing that wherever He takes me is far better than any good that I can plan on my own. His direction is all I need, and I know He will be with me each step on the path He has willed for me. And I trust that many saints will be walking with me as well on this path that God has willed. I pray that I will be strong daily, and walk the great will of God and not the seemingly good plans of my flesh.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Father, how we desire to embrace your will for our life each and every moment, knowing that our true good is your GREAT plan for each of us.  Father God, we ask that you give us the eyes to see what you desire we let go of, and the strength to let go. 

Thanksgiving: Lord God of all creation, how we praise your name and thank you for the life you have given us. For the good people you have put on our path, and the great people you have used to bring us back onto the path. Thank you for this new year and for your Son who makes all things new.

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