When I was ten years old, I was chosen to be in the annual Christmas program at our church. After receiving the script, I noticed I was to recite from memory Luke 2:1-13. I was a little scared but had been in Christmas plays and programs before and knew that most people at church enjoyed the children’s performances, even if mistakes were made.
On the program night, with butterflies in my stomach, I recited the verses on cue. As the spotlight shone on me, I remember thinking, this is the most important part of the Christmas story. It tells of the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, what the angel of the Lord said and how the multitude of angels praised God. I was relieved that all went well and I had remembered every word.
This portion of scripture will always be dear to me and is still hidden in my heart after all these years. Yet, as I grew in the Lord, other parts of the Christmas story have touched me as deeply.
I have pondered the events that happened to Mary, Jesus’ mother, leading up to His birth. I can’t help but see a parallel for all believers. Mary was to carry Christ in her womb, a foreshadowing of what was to happen to every believer. Christ would come to dwell in us – Christ in you, the hope of glory.
In Luke 1:30, the angel, Gabriel, greeted Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God…”. Christ in us brings God’s gracious favor upon our lives. Favor gives us the goodness of God and every blessing we could ever need. We receive favor now by faith as it has been poured out for all those who will believe and receive Him.
The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” What do we absolutely need in this Christian life after favor? The infilling, overshadowing power of the Holy Ghost! He overshadows all that is within us that needs to change. What we can’t do on our own, God does for us by the empowering of the Holy Ghost, bringing His fullness into our lives.
As we remain aware of Christ in us, abiding in Him and His words, and He in us, we become fruitful. The identical pattern produced in Mary, carrying the Son of God, is the same for us – carrying Christ in us, to a world in need of hope.
The angel concluded by saying, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Other translations say, “For no word from God shall be void of power” (ASV) or “For no word from God will ever fail” (NIV). And Mary answered, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Her words of faith most certainly pleased all of heaven. “Let it be to me according to your word.” God is looking for believers who believe His Word, who receive what He has said will come to pass.
Christ’s coming, and His indwelling is as real for us as Mary’s experience was of physically carrying Him within. He has bestowed favor upon us, overshadowed and filled us so that which is birthed in us would be fully Him. All He needs is for our faith to rise up like Mary’s and say, “Let it be to me according to your word,” so we live in this kingdom reality.
“And the secret is simply this: Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you bringing with him the hope of all glorious things to come.”
– Colossians 1:27 (Phillips Translation)
Sharon Stark is a wife, mother, and follower of Christ. A member of the ZTeam, Sharon has co-pastored, assisted in pioneer works, and ministered in Africa and Mexico on short-term mission trips. She enjoys praying, singing, writing, painting, and learning something new every day.