The second chapter of the Gospel of Luke is where we get the most detailed account of the first Christmas. The baby Jesus asleep in the manger as Mary and Joseph gaze down in adoration. The cows and sheep and donkeys resting peacefully in the shadows, the heat from their bodies warming the stable. And hovering nearby are the shepherds, their heads bowed in worship. It’s a word picture that’s expressed in the numerous holiday cards in our mailbox and the Nativity scene on our mantle.
But Jesus’ birth was so much more than just a story. It was a miracle.
It was a miracle because it was the fulfillment of centuries of prophecies foretold in the Old Testament. It was a miracle because it bridged the gap, once and for all, between man and God. It was a miracle because it was a virgin birth.
And it’s a miracle that lives in us now.
While reading about the promises of eternal life and our call to be holy in 1 Peter 1, verse 25 caught my attention. In the New Living Translation, it says, “And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.”
But in the Message, it says, “This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.”
That word “conceived” made me think of Luke 1:26-38, where Mary is visited by the angel, Gabriel, and told that she would bear the Son of God. How could this happen to a virgin? “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” he tells her.
Yes, the same Holy Spirit that impregnated Mary also created our new life in her Son. And the same Holy Spirit that gave Mary the strength and wisdom to raise God’s Child and endure His crucifixion, is the same Holy Spirit that gets us through the ups and downs of life with a thankful and joyful heart.
That’s what makes the Christmas story our own. And as miraculous as the virgin birth was, so is the power of the Holy Spirit in all who believe.
Help me focus on the meaning of Christmas and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle and stress. Help me to depend on Your Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance. And help me to spread the joy of Your Gospel to all I meet, all year around.