John 1:14 (NASB) “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of ]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Surrender is not an action we have time to think about at this time of year.. No one wants to surrender to anyone it seems these days. With road rage, cyber rage, bullying in schools, drive-by shooting in neighborhoods, and don’t forget the Black Friday sales, we are consumed with “having it our way.”
No Way– Our culture does not like to think of surrendering any rights of any kind.
Today, I want us to look at some of the characters in the Christmas story.
- Joseph had a bride waiting for him to finish their home. I am sure eagerly counting the days before he could go get his bride. Then God interrupts everyone’s plan with a plan of his own. Confusion was not the only emotion he must have felt. Anger, terror, betrayed, such strong emotions to process as a 15-18 year old young man. We know very little from scripture of Joseph. So what do we see Joseph surrender? Joseph surrenders his plans. He replaces the law he has followed traditionally all his life. Instead, he follows the instructions from an angel in a dream. He goes to his bride to be and marries her. Keeps Mary a virgin until the child is born. Joseph raises a child that most probably everyone in Nazareth thinks is not his child. He gives Jesus the name the angel tells him to give, which in that culture was seen as adoption. He teaches Jesus a trade…carpentry. He must have seen to it that Jesus was taught to worship God. Is that ever a conflicting thought! Joseph bringing his child to the temple, teaching him the ways of God, showing him the ways of Jewish life. I wonder what thoughts must have come to his mind. Jesus, you should be teaching me! Jesus, is this the best way to build this ________? Joseph, what an amazing life of surrender to the will of God.
- Elizabeth the mother of the forerunner of Christ is another interesting character in the story. She was to carry the one who would prepare the way for the Christ. She takes Mary into her home. She verbally acknowledges Mary’s child as her “Lord.” She knows he is to be the Messiah. She surrenders to him even before Jesus is born!
- Mary, the mother of the Messiah, chosen among women to be blessed. She surrendered to the scorn of public humiliation in order to follow God’s plan. The angel told her she would be blessed by generations. She was a faithful mother, a faithful follower, and committed to the plan even to the cross.
- The shepherds left their flocks. They hurried to see this baby. What conversations they must have had when they returned to the hillside that starry night. Were their lives changed by the birth of a baby? Did they tell every shepherd they met about the time the angels visited them?
- The Christ Child… Jesus… born in a manager to a peasant girl and her young husband to be. You may be thinking what did that tiny baby in a manger surrender?
Philippians 2:5-11 “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” New Living Translation
Jesus gave up his divine privileges. My finite mind cannot comprehend how the God of all creation could wrap himself in human flesh, give up everything in heaven, to come to earth, to endure life as a human, in order to redeem mankind. When I take time to really consider how much God loves us, it is so humbling.
This Christmas week, I hope you will take sometime to consider what God may be asking you to surrender in 2016. Will you be like one of these in the story? Mary told the angel, “Be it unto me as you said.” Can you and I be that surrendered and committed to God’s plan for our life? Joseph surrendered his pride in order to serve God. Will we give up whatever is keeping us from serving God and following his plan? The shepherds served by spreading the word across the hills of Bethlehem. They “hurried” off to see what the angels had told them. Do we “hurry” to do what God asks of us or to do we take our time and do it if it fits conveniently in our life?
And then, we must consider the main character of the Christmas story, Jesus. He loved us so much that he gave all of himself to redeem us so that we would not have to experience the spiritual death brought by the fall in the garden. He sits at the Father’s right hand interceding for us at this very moment. He is reaching out to you and me right now! He wants to have a close relationship with us. He is preparing a place for us now. It will not be in a stable but a beautiful place to eternally live in his presence.
If you have never surrenderred your life to him, I pray you will this Christmas season. It is the only way to find peace, joy, and happiness. Jesus is our peace!
This video is a wonderful and worshipful way to take a few minutes to surrender today. Please take a few minutes to worship and thank God for all he has done for you.
Love you all,
Your treading sister, Freda