Have you ever noticed how Christmas reminds us that we’re not in control? No matter how much we plan or prepare, no matter how far in advance we go through all of the painstaking details of the pending holiday affairs that will culminate in the perfect Christmas celebration…something will pop up and remind us that we are not in control.
No matter what time you wanted to start unwrapping gifts, one of your relatives will show up an hour and a half late. No matter what you put on the perfectly planned and prepared menu…one of your friends is going to be on a tofu diet. No matter how hard you try to take the perfect family picture, posing every member just so… some kid is going to throw bunny ears behind grandpa.
As you look back through your photo albums, reminiscing over holiday memories, you are reminded that the harder you try…the more you discover you are not in control of Christmas.
Political correctness isn’t in control of Christmas. For decades they have tried to control the holiday by labeling it a “mid-winter holiday.” So every chance I get, I say, “Merry CHRISTMAS!” They’re not in control of the holiday!
Retailers have tried to control Christmas. They try to dominate your time and money. They used to open early and stay late; now they just flood your e-mail. All you have to do is make one online purchase for everyone from here to Indonesia to know who you are! Retailers are not in control.
And it doesn’t really matter which account of the Christmas story you read (Matthew’s or Luke’s), you soon discover that not even the individuals who had a role to play in the first manger scene were in control.
But today I want to talk to you about someone who IS in control. Luke 1:30 tells us, “Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” If you continue reading this chapter, it discusses Mary’s conversation with the angel, Gabriel. You will quickly arrive at the same feeling you have every holiday season…Mary is not in control.
Mary was planning a wedding. She was engaged to Joseph and doing what she was supposed to be doing and then…Gabriel arrived. He lets her know that she is not in control. Joseph was building a business and getting ready to become a husband. Guess what? He wasn’t in control either.
The Baby came and the shepherds were called. They saw the star in the east and knew that they were not in control. God had another plan for them. Not one of these people in the story of Jesus’ birth got to make a suggestion or share an opinion.
But you know who IS in control? The God that we serve. He was in control then, and He is still in control today. He is Almighty God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Great I Am. He was in control before the foundations of the earth were poured, and He is still on His throne today!
No government can change God’s course. No agenda can usurp His power or bend His will. No force in heaven or on earth has authority over Him. Yet, in all of His might and majesty, the God who is in control displayed His awesome power when He sent His only Son to Bethlehem’s manger. It was the greatest display of love this world will ever see. That tiny Baby, crying in a straw-filled manger, the Son of the living God…born to die for you and for me. Thank you God for Your blessings on us, for all that You have given to us! Thank You that YOU are in complete control!
And if He is in control, then what do you have to be worried about? What do you have to fear? Consider the words that the angel shared with Mary, “Do not be afraid.”
Sometimes people derive comfort from being in control, thinking that this is the only way things can possibly go right. But guess what? If you’re in control and things go south… it’s your fault. You don’t have to live too many days to fully understand that you can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can control how you respond.
The angel interrupted Mary’s life. He let her know something that we all must understand. Fear keeps us from enjoying God’s favor. The angel let Mary know that she had a blessing coming her way…that she should not be filled with fear.
Whenever you choose to cling to your fear, God doesn’t remove the favor…you’re just too fearful to enjoy it. Don’t choose fear over failure. Get out there and live the life you were created to live. You were created to be more than a conqueror, not to hide in the shadows and be filled with fear, waiting on the next disaster to strike.
Many people get up every day, surrounded by God’s blessings. Consider a successful businessman or woman who is blessed with God’s favor. They have resources for their business and provision for their family. Yet, rather than walk in God’s divine favor and thank Him for His goodness, they live under a cloud of fear. They live in the land of “what if.” Have you ever done that?
Guess what? You’re not in control!
The God that gave you the power to get wealth, to draw your next breath, to put one foot in front of the other…HE is in control. And He has said that His plans for you are to prosper and to give you a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
So, as we end this year and begin a brand-new year filled with unlimited possibility…let’s thank Him. Let’s magnify His holy name. He is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. He is in control of our steps. The steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord. If you call Him your Savior…then know that you are not in control.
Call out to Him today, and drown in the abyss of His love. Drink from the cup of joy and know that everything is going to be alright when you place your hand in the hand of the Savior and stop fighting for control. Allow God’s favor and goodness to overtake you, and enjoy the blessings that are already yours!