The prophet Isaiah made an astounding prophecy. He states, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him…” From the family line of David, a young shoot, a child, will come up from a stump—the remnant of a dynasty lost long ago. From this young shoot, a Branch, Jesus Christ, will come and be that perfect ruler.
A miracle. It was, indeed, a miracle even from the beginning. An angel comes before a young Mary and shares with her a message too difficult to believe. One of the first things the angel says is “the Lord is with you!” The angel continues to say, “God has found favor with You. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will give birth to a Son who will be called the Son of God. For nothing is impossible with God.”
The Holy Spirit is with Mary and she conceives and gives birth to Jesus. The Spirit of the Lord rests on Jesus and he is given everything he needs. He is given wisdom and understanding, counsel and power as foretold by Isaiah to carry out the plan God has devised for His people.
By the power of the Spirit resting on Christ, he carried out God’s will by living the perfect life in order to be that perfect substitute for us on the cross. He willingly made that sacrifice to remove our sins, to be redeemed, so that we may be holy and righteous before our Heavenly Father, fully forgiven and acceptable. As a result of Christ’s substitute for us, His life becomes our life. His history now becomes our history. We are perfect, we are forgiven, we will conquer death, we are a child of God.
The inner workings of this amazing Christmas story is a mystery. A virgin with child. A baby born in a manger. Prophecy fulfilled perfectly hundreds of years later. Immanuel—God with us. I can appreciate Mary pondering the words and events surrounding her—especially the mystery of the Holy Spirit.
Our lives and the workings of the Holy Spirit in us is still a mystery. 1 Timothy calls it the “mystery of godliness.” Christ dwells in us. The same power. The same counsel. The same understanding. Its not based on us trying so hard to obtain this gift, but bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us. As a result of God in us, we can proclaim like the angels the good news. We can rejoice like the angels rejoiced. Jesus Christ is born and he is here today.
The glow of Christmas can reverberate in our lives as we carry out each day God ordained for us to glorify him. With boldness and great confidence, we declare that God is with us, He is for us, and He is in us, today and forever. God has chosen us to share this message of hope and peace.