With the influx of phone addicts on the road, a common thought of mine has been, “I’m going to die in my car in Raleigh traffic.” People drive with one hand on the wheel in bumper-to-bumper traffic at 60 miles per hour, all the while staring (not glancing, but staring!) at their phones. Besides breaking this law (is it even still a law?), people don’t signal, don’t obey the speed limit, and pedestrians do whatever they want… this is a life without parameters and without rules.

But there is one rule that seems to be in play: I do what I want. Not only do I do what I want, but I get what I want, and so do you. It doesn’t just happen this way; we fight for it! We are all a bunch of little kings and queens of our own microcosmic kingdoms, and we fight tooth and claw so that what other people do can’t break the ultimate law of Me. This is why we have so many people saying things like, “Well, as long as he’s not hurting anybody, I guess it’s ok.”

But Christmas is like the atomic bomb that annihilates (read: remedies) all that. “What! There’s a God? He came down and took the form of a human baby to grow up and thwart us all! Noooooo!” And then, like the nail-biting climax of a movie, we are all asked to give up our thrones for this little baby God and get what we feel like is nothing in return—a life full of suffering for him, serving him, and giving him our all for him! No thank you!

People say no to this because they think Jesus is like them—selfish, turned inward, and a ruthless dictator seeking only gain and coming to conquer. All people are given an opportunity to turn away from the Jesus, to sit on their own thrones, remaining untouched for all eternity. Some people choose this option… and because they don’t want Jesus, like a good gentleman, he leaves them alone.

But for you and me, Christmas is different and better than the birth of a dictator. Christmas is the coming of the God who stoops down and bends low, seeing us in our need, running and ruining our own tiny kingdoms. He came to set us free from sin and death, yes, but also from self. And get this: when we give everything up to Christ and let him have the throne of our lives, we don’t get nothing. We get everything. His life and light work out into every far part of our kingdom and every dark corner of our hearts.

When we give it all over to him, he doesn’t establish a harsh dictatorship over us. When we give him the throne, he gives us his very self! He grants us adoption as sons and daughters, and calls us as a community his own beloved bride! He came not to conquer like a knight on a horse with a sword, but like a boy on a first date, fist full of flowers.

Yes, he’s powerful. Yes, he is the greatest self to have ever walked the face of the planet. Yes, his essence is so much life and eternity that he goes by the name “I AM.” He shows us great love and kindness in giving us standards to live by—and all of them are for our good, his pleasure, and his glory. We know his rules and his authority are loving because of the cross where Jesus died for you and me. We see the humility of his leadership in the incarnation—the infinite clothing itself with frailty. The Son’s incarnation is similar to what the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin once said, “Phenomenal cosmic power! Itty bitty living space!”

Our self-rule is in more areas than just phone usage and driving, it’s in everything we do. This Christmas, won’t you give up ruling your own microcosm and submit to Christ’s humble-loving leadership? Won’t you consider your tiny prince, come to be the king who died for you and me?