"For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:11
This "savior" stuff doesn't come naturally to our contemporary, self-reliant, "can-do" culture. We're all for healing the world but less inclined to admit we also need a healer. We can identify racism, sexism and xenophobia in our culture and be slow to admit the need to exorcise those demons from ourselves.
Meanwhile, we know dentists cannot put fillings in their own teeth, a hairstylist cannot adequately do his own hair and a surgeon cannot operate on herself. We cannot baptize ourselves or serve ourselves communion, but we still struggle to admit we can only be restored by surrendering to a Presence larger and wiser than ourselves.
I understand the reluctance. Part of me would rather believe I can improve myself through my own efforts: a spiritual tweak here, a moral upgrade there, instead of admitting I need a total overhaul of heart and mind.
Here's why: If I am healed by my own efforts, there would be limits to what God could ask of me. But if I am healed by the grace of God in Christ, then I belong to Christ and I owe God everything.
That's scary until we realize there is nothing more liberating than giving everything to God and nothing more terrifying than being left to our own devices. Giving up control is frightening until we acknowledge we have never been in control for a day in our lives. Life begins when we turn to our Savior, one day, one moment, at a time.
Help me Savior God and just for you today, let me surrender everything to you.
Matt Laney is a United Church of Christ minister and the author of breakout The Pride Wars fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for young readers ages 8-12. The first book, The Spinner Prince, will be available in April, 2018, just in time to purchase a copy or two for 20 of your closest friends and family members for Easter.