December 14 – “…What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

The surprising work of the Holy Spirit is truly amazing. If we ever thought we could box God in, Christmas proves us wrong. No one expected exactly what happened. The coming of the Messiah was anticipated, but who dreamed it would happen the way it did. Mary surely didn’t. That is, until she heard the angel say, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” We expect the work of the Spirit of God to be inspiring, not impregnating. It is easier to picture people being overwhelmed emotionally than it is to understand Mary being “overshadowed” physically. The surprising work of the Holy Spirit engages the physical world, controls Mary’s body, and conceives a new life. The same Spirit who called creation into existence creates time and space in the womb of a maid for the Incarnate One.

The Holy Spirit surprised everyone at Pentecost too. Suddenly the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed the gospel to Jewish pilgrims gathered to Jerusalem from all over the Mediterranean  world. Because the disciples were enabled to communicate by the Holy Spirit, everyone could hear the gospel in their native language. Their speech was more than inspirational, it was indigenous. The Holy Spirit performed a linguistic miracle. The same Spirit who controls the womb controls phonetics and syntax. Culture and conception and everything else in creation are the easy tools of the Holy Spirit. We have a lesson to learn. The Spirit of God controls communication and conception. Nothing is too hard for the Spirit of God. We have no business trying to control and domesticate the Spirit.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we seem to have a natural bent toward limiting Your field of work and range of power. Holy Spirit, we acknowledge Your power over all creation. May Your work in our lives demonstrate the power and care of God so that others may see Christ. Amen.

2 thoughts on “December 14 – “…What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.””

  1. Thought-provoking as always, Jim.

    We don’t know anything about the physical experience of either Mary or the disciples, do we? Was it chemistry and physics affecting biology out of awareness of the participants?

    How were human emotions, awareness and choices part of the process?

    Given the character of God and the nature of created humans, I think there must have been some sort of Divine/human co-operation beyond our imagination. Some sort of engagement on the part of Mary and of the disciples. I can’t see God “using” humans by over-riding choice like some sci-fi movies portray the invasion of aliens. These stories sounds like true partnerships: humans inviting God to work in them, but not like limp dishrags in the hand of a kitchen worker.

  2. Here’s a laugh — and a mark of God’s work (I think): I was thinking of responding to this devo – it gripped me hard — when I started reading the first comment and resonating with the words. Imagine my surpise — and laughter — when I looked at the name of the writer of the post . . . . and saw it was me 4 years ago! LOL – praise and worship!

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