I saw this cloud as I traveled from Regina to Saskatoon a few days ago. It stayed in this formation practically the whole trip. An umbilical cord to heaven was my first thought as it seemed to extend beyond my sight. I wondered if God was like us when we as humans tend to say we need to ‘cut the cord’ with our children and allow them to become more independent. In some ways, yes, our free will may get us in trouble early on but it also allows us to choose to follow the One that created us. At that time we get a new umbilical cord of sorts called the Holy Spirit, that keeps us connected to our heavenly Father and Jesus and helps us to navigate this new life.
Umbilical cord may have been a close association to my baby focus these days but it was still a sweet analogy of how God continues to give us life-giving nutrients. Baby focus = Our daughter recently announced we will be grandparents for the first time, my good friend is about to give birth any day, our lives are surrounded by young families with little ones right now and of course as Christmas approaches I reflect on baby Jesus; the most important baby of all time.
Luke 1:30-35New International Version (NIV)
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.
As I have been reflecting on the miracle of Christmas this year these verses have been especially prominent in my mind and in my readings. I don’t know about the rest of you but the submissiveness of young teenage Mary and how she must have known her God and how an encounter with God completely changes someone, never fails to blow me away. And that is just a piece of this incredible story! The orchestration of all of the parts and lives and circumstances God used to come to earth as a baby and change our future is mind-blowing, if you choose to believe the truth.
I love the term the ‘Power of the Most High will overshadow you’. Overshadow in Greek is Episkiazo (ep-ee-skee-ad-zo) which means to envelop. It is used in the New Testament 3 times meaning God’s overshadowing presence which always brings His plans to pass. In these verses pertaining to Mary it particularly means that the Holy Spirit will come over her and impregnate her. My devotional said today, “God chose to place Himself inside her womb so that you and I could, one day, carry His presence inside of our lives as well.”
Edwin Louis Cole said ‘Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.’ Mary had an expectancy in God, not in what He was doing or how, just simply that He could. Can you choose to believe this Christmas, just simply that He can, that He did all of this for you and He desires to meet you in the darkest, most broken places of your heart. Your pain is not too hard for Him. Pastor Craig Groeschel said, ‘Push through the pain to the point of praise.’ Worship will break into your hurt. He also meets us in our joy and in our peace and through our relationships, He is Love. Let your prayers be that the Holy Spirit will overshadow you and impregnate you with possibility, hope and the anticipation of who God is and who He wants to be for you.
Merry Christmas from my heart and my family to yours. Let the Light of the world shine through you in 2015 and watch the finger of God change the world, one life, one moment, one miracle at a time.