There are such profound implications in God’s incarnation. Recently I was touched by several fresh thoughts as I meditated on the encounter of the virgin with Gabriel in Luke Chapter One. I hope these thoughts are a blessing to you.
1. The Word targets the ones whom God has chosen/favored. “Gabriel was sent from God…to a virgin…and said, ‘Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with thee…you will conceive in your womb..’” The Word sought her out before she could even dream of responding. The Word seeks us too. He came to us and chose us – not because we’ve been good, but because He is good. If you’ve heard and trusted in this Mystery, you are one upon whom God’s favor rests. This should create a sense of awe, delight, and profound thanks.
2. The Spirit of God attends the Word of God and performs the same in the hearts of those who believe. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the son of God…For no word from God will be void of power.” A physical and divine being was conceived in Mary’s womb as she believed the Word of promise. When we believe the promise held forth to us in the gospel, there is a supernatural birth within our spirits too: “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Pet 1:23) There is a new creation. It’s a supernatural, spiritual birth on the inside of us.
3. The Spirit of God bears witness to the nature of the Son of God wherever it appears. When the newly pregnant Mary entered the room, the fetal John the Baptist leaped for joy at the embryonic presence of Jesus! Then Elizabeth also got “the witness”! She prophesied joyfully. Then Mary came to full faith, even with no actual physical evidence, and fully accepted the promise of God as being accomplished: “the mighty One has done great things for me…”!
One thing we learn from the Christmas Story is that God does nothing apart from promise. He has willed that He will accomplish His purposes in Creation and Redemption by sending forth His Word. The Spirit of God accompanies the proclamation of the Word and creates faith in the hearts of those who hear. Salvation comes through hearing the good news of the gospel and it is manifested as we believe and act upon it.
Mary’s joy can be yours too. The Spirit of God still bears witness to the incarnate Word – within the hearts of those who receive Him by simple faith. I hope you experience this joy, the true joy of Christmas, this year!