“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
I have always been intrigued by a phrase in this famous Christmas verse-"and the government will be on his shoulders.” It means something like this: “The weight of the world will be on his shoulders.” This is a profound truth, especially for those of us who feel like we’re bearing the full weight of the world on our own shoulders.
Tim Hudson tells a story about George McCauslin, who some years ago served as director of a YMCA in western Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. It was a difficult situation because the YMCA was losing money, membership, and staff. George McCauslin worked 85 hours a week trying to solve the problem. He found himself getting little sleep at night. Even when he was away from the job, he was worrying and fretting about the problems of the YMCA. He visited a therapist who warned him he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Somehow he needed to let go and let God take charge of his problems. But how do you do something like that?
The breakthrough came one day when he took a notebook and ventured into a forest not far from where he lived. As he walked through the cool woods, he could feel his muscles starting to relax. Sitting down under a
tree, he sighed and felt at ease for the first time in months. He took out his notebook and decided to let go of the burdens of his life. He wrote God a letter that simply said, “Dear God, Today I hereby resign as general manager of the universe. Love, George.” Looking back on that moment, he reflected with a twinkle in his eye, “And wonder of wonders, God accepted my resignation.”
I think many of us need to resign as general manager of the universe. Are you worn out from trying to solve every problem, make everyone happy, help your children, take care of your parents, and get your coworkers shaped up? Are you exhausted from trying to prove that you can manage your own life successfully? No wonder you’re tired all the time.
Here is where the message of Christmas becomes all-important. Ponder the Babe in the manger. As Martin Luther said, “He whom the worlds could not enwrap, yonder lies in Mary’s lap.” He came to set us free from the terrible burden (and inevitable failure) of trying to run the universe.
Let the weary world rejoice. Christ is born! He can carry the full weight of all your problems, for “the government will be on his shoulders.”