Part of the reason the Christmas story seems so strange is because we try to read it through the lens of American values. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness are fine for Democracy, but Christmas is a story of a monarchy where a powerful King came to establish absolute rule.
It’s not Mary’s choice to give birth. It’s not her decision to name Him Jesus. It’s most certainly not her preference to travel during her third trimester. But she surrenders. She kneels. She bows. He’s the King, after all.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary tells the angel, “may it happen to me as you have said.” (Lk. 1:38) And it’s only after she yields control to a greater power that freedom is born.
This year, rethink the way you Christmas and surrender.
If you call Him Lord, tell Him you are His servant and give Him control. When you do, your efforts to control the holidays will stop, too. You’ll realize it’s okay if the kids don’t smile during the picture. That it’s okay if the turkey is overcooked. Yes, it’s a jerk-move but it really is okay if that guy cuts you off in the mall parking lot. Breathe in. You’re not in charge. Breathe out. Freedom.
When you prepare for Christmas by surrendering, you’ll model the very season you celebrate. As the author who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia points out, “the perfect surrender and humiliation was undergone by Christ: perfect because He was God, surrender… because He was man.”
…The Lord God will give him the throne…
What does today’s reading tell you about people? (Yourself and others.)
What does today’s reading tell you about God?
How do these ideas change the way you Christmas this year?