And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Luke 1:31-33

I have yet to meet parents who were not allowed to name their child.

SunHi named our first daughter; I named our second.

In this passage, Mother Mary was not allowed to name her own, for an angel of the Lord commanded her in verse 31, “you shall call his name Jesus.”

In the Bible, naming demonstrates authority, ownership, manageable control. This explains why Jesus was not named but given the name that means “God saves”.

From the moment of His conception to birth, Jesus has never been under our control.

During the Advent season, would you consider how you try to keep Jesus under control?

Is Jesus someone you only consult but who never has final decision-making power?

Is Jesus there only to bless you and bail you out of trouble?

Do you negotiate the terms and conditions of what Jesus can and cannot do with you?

If so, you are insisting on keeping control, not surrendering to His. But see how Mother Mary surrendered to Jesus even before His birth.

She surrendered to a pregnancy without knowing when and how it would take place.

She surrendered to inevitable suspicion, mistrust, and possible breakup with her betrothed.

In all, Mary surrendered to radical risk and uncertainty – the very opposite of control. And as she did so, Christmas arrived. Jesus, God’s own son, was born from her womb!

Surrender sounds nice, even sweet, in a Sarah McLachlan song. But real surrender to Jesus means losing control of your life.

So why would anyone do that?  Because nobody surrendered more for you.

Jesus surrendered His family and home, every power, privilege, and comfort to take our sins.

Jesus was miraculously born human – so we might be born again of God.

Are you tired and worn down this year? Fearful and fretful over the future?

Christmas – the birth (and life) of Jesus – happens in you, as you surrender to the “Son of the Most High…and He will reign forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Under His reign, you’ll find “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”

Romans 14:17

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