For some reason, I began watching one of my sermon videos this evening from the Sunday after Christmas. While I usually like to review what I do in an effort to be a better communicator next time, I rarely go back months later and watch it again.
But tonight was different. As I began to watch myself walk nervously across the stage and introduce myself to the congregation, I actually started listening to the content, not just noticing the way the words were being presented or the way I move my hands in a predictable pattern when I talk. And what I heard struck me in a powerful way, almost as if I had never heard this before (even though I was the one who said it).
There is a theme in the story of Jesus’ birth that doesn’t get touched on in many advent seasons. It’s not a sermon that is heard on Christmas Eve. Come to think of it, it’s not even that much of a Christmas-y thought… But, nevertheless, there it is. Throughout the story of Jesus’ birth, it’s there.
- When Mary became pregnant, she had to release control of the life she thought she was going to lead.
- When Joseph heard about the baby, he had to release control of his pride and stand alongside Mary in this confusing time.
- When it came to the census, they both had to release control of the comfort of home and travel to Bethlehem, a 3+ day journey in the heat.
- When there was no room for them at the inn, they had to release control and place their newborn son in a feeding trough.
- They had to release control when shepherds invaded the delivery room, smelly and loud.
- And again, they had to release control when a stranger picked up Jesus and started praising God in the middle of a busy temple while trying to exercise their religious routine.
I’m sure that Mary and Joseph learned early on that control goes out the window when dealing with God; trusting him with this pregnancy and this child.
Not a Hallelujah Chorus or a “no crying he makes” baby. No, this is real. This is powerful. This is God showing the world that when His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, He has got to be the one in control. And when we try to gain control, we only get in the way.
Just an interesting thought on a random night, but one that continues to be powerful and relevant over and over again.
Lord, help me to let you control in a way that only you know how. Amen.