To give control or use of something to someone else (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)
“…But you don’t know what he did to me…”
To give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc… “He surrendered himself to a life of hardship. (dictionary.com)
“…actions speak louder than words…”
A very simple word with unimaginable implications.
I never understood just how big the word surrender really was until this morning. I was passing by my little table top nativity scene and pondered the little empty space among the sheep, waiting to be occupied by my little ceramic baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.
An infant. A tiny, helpless, vulnerable infant.
It hit me like a spiritual truck.
Picture it – The creator of the entire universe, the God over all of eternity, the infinite, majestic Now who is beyond human comprehension or my fumbling words, humbles himself enough to become a helpless, vulnerable, dependent, drooling, crying infant.
We see the scene everywhere this time of year as we sing songs about Emmanuel, God with us.
The Son of God, God incarnate – GOD – born to a human, among other humans.
To give up control of something to someone else.
Jesus, giving up control to Mary, Joseph, teachers, neighbors… the Roman soldiers, Herod, Caiaphas…
From the moment it was ordained He would be born to die, He surrendered.
December is my sad month – it has been for many years. Yet, each year as I have sought God and embraced life with all of its ups and downs, joys and pains, and the ever flowing tide of change, the Advent season is becoming a time of peace.
Sadness and peace can and do co-exist.
This December I was feeling sad, forsaken by a friend, taken for granted, missing my kids as I baked cookies alone, fretting over finances, grad school, our ministry losses, and dreading the thought of selling our home and the work involved in moving – yet again.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt. 16:24-25
It always seemed like such a harsh passage and terrible burden; losing my life to save it, denying myself, taking up the cross of crucifixion. Really? What a harsh reality, this Christian life of disciples.
No, it’s not.
Our heavy burden was not only take from us, but he carries the burden and us. It’s not harsh, it’s not a burden. It’s actually quite simple.
To agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting etc., because you know you will not succeed (Websters Collegiate Dictionary.)
I understand the infant part – I know what it is to hold, nurture, care for, and protect my helpless babies. I know what it feels like to be willing to die if it means saving them. I have agonized when I can’t take their pain and carry it for them. I know what it is like to wrestle a toddler who doesn’t want his diaper changed, or to carry her screaming into the house and out of the storm, even though she wants to play.
I can surrender into safe arms like that. I can be God’s infant and stop fighting, resisting, or hiding because His arms are too big for me to fight against.
Surrender has nothing to do with our future actions, and everything to do with His past example.
When I am tempted to fret, I will gaze upon the manger and resist the temptation to hide from the One who loves me best.
Advent has taught me Surrender.