As we approach Christmas, we have been looking at the events that surrounded the conceptions of both Jesus and John the Baptist. At our Christmas Eve service, we will be looking at the birth of Jesus (appropriate for this time of year).
You most likely know about the appearance of angels that came to announce Jesus was born. But, have you ever noticed the appearance of the angel Gabriel that had come to announce to the father of John and to the mother of Jesus that they were going to have sons? Not only was there an angel at these encounters, but also the Holy Spirit is mentioned at these encounters as well. The angel told Zechariah that his son John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.
This is the first time in scripture that a person will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. In the past, the Holy Spirit would temporarily come on a person for a period of time, for a specific task. John’s task, however, was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, so God filled him with the Holy Spirit from birth, for his entire life.
Gabriel also told Mary that her Son would be conceived by the Holy Spirit. Being conceived by the Holy Spirit means that Jesus was 100% divine. Jesus was also born of a woman, so He is also 100% human as well. This means He fully understands and has experienced everything that we all have.
Then the angel made one more appearance. When Joseph found out that the woman he was engaged to be married to was pregnant, he decided to divorce her and dismiss her quietly. We can only imagine how Joseph must have felt. He knew that the child was not his, so he went to the only other conclusion that knew of, that Mary had been unfaithful to him. Yet before this happened, the angel appeared to Joseph and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.
The one thing I cannot help notice is how many people the angel Gabriel came in contact with. See, God doesn’t act in secret or behind closed doors. The two conceptions that the angel announced were both miraculous in nature. Zachariah and Elizabeth were beyond child bearing years and had been barren. Mary was young, and had never been with a man. Both of these women became pregnant when it was seemingly impossible.
Both pregnancies were announced in advance. When Mary asked Gabriel how it would be possible to carry God’s child, she was told about her relative Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant. Mary knew how miraculous this was. So when Gabriel proclaimed to her that nothing is impossible with God, she knew that it was possible for her to become pregnant just as the angel described.
Mary, Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth all knew that God was at work in their lives. They trusted Him, knowing nothing is impossible with Him. When we look at our own situations and the struggles that we face, we can look to these couples as examples, knowing that nothing is beyond the capabilities of God.
Do you trust God with your struggles, your trials and your pain? Do you have faith that nothing is impossible for God to accomplish or overcome in your life? When we look through the eyes of faith we can see God at work in our lives. We can trust God with the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of us. God sent His Son into this world for you, to give you eternal life. This is the true miracle of Christmas.