Submission is "the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person."
Dogs roll on their backs to submit to an Alpha, it is a sign of inferiority and a plea for mercy. Many other animals engage in similar kinds of behavior. It is what the weak must do in the face of power. Aggressive gestures are an invitation to conflict, and the weak always lose.
In today’s Gospel, Luke begins by naming the Roman Emperor and other powerful men. This is the setting for the narrative of Jesus’ birth. His parents, poor in a third world kind of way, submit to the authority of the invasive Empire. Rome conquered most of Europe and parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. They did this to acquire wealth and consume the labor of the conquered people. It was what the powerful do…
That is the irony and paradox of the Gospel. The almighty God, Word become flesh, the all-powerful creator of heaven and earth is displayed before us as a child. God accepts and yields to an INFERIOR force, He submits Himself to human wills and authority. Instead of being a god who consumes, He is laid out in a feeding trough. No room in the house for the mother and child, His birth takes place in the equivalent of a storage shed.The only power we see is the power of a God who empties Himself of power; Creator become creature, and all for love.
This child will wield power of a kind different from Caesar. He will speak truth, He will heal, He will free people from the demonic, He will give hope and joy to a people trampled by life. And He will give his flesh and blood as food for the world.
Why did He do it? Why did God chose to roll on His back like a dog and reveal His underside to a sinful world? Because of Love. Love cannot coerce, it cannot conquer, it cannot take. Love gives. Love says, “Here I am, do with me as you will.” And so that is what we see in the manger. God’s word to us, "Here I am, come emptied of power, in the weakness and power of love." And we are invited to love Him. And He will feed us His body and blood. And we will do with Him as we desire.