Christmas story teaches lessons
It’s Christmastime. Everybody has their own individual aspect or perceived truth that they hold dear from the Christmas story.
Given this chance, I’ll relate one of my favorite Biblical truths that constantly comes to mind at this season.
Mary was told she was going to produce Jesus, the Son of the Most High.
Before we lose sight in sentimental euphoria, let’s remember Mary’s personal capacity to produce the baby Jesus was zilch, zero, non-existent. She could only agree with the angel Gabriel to be subservient to God’s wishes and allow God to produce what he wanted within her.
(Now, that’s a concept. Give up and let God.) The great Christian truth is we are all represented in Mary, we cannot produce what God requires in and of ourselves.
Enter into the scene of Mary’s dilemma, God, the Holy Spirit.
Gabriel stated that the Holy Spirit will cause the pregnancy within Mary.
This is the profound, yet exhilarating news, to all of us who are willing to believe it.
The Holy Spirit working within the Christian is the only way to produce the real Jesus.
The story of Mary’s pregnancy is every Christian’s story, their personal story of incapacity to be as God desires without the miracle-working Holy Spirit.
We have no more capacity to change ourselves into a Godly, spiritual person than Mary had power to create a divine pregnancy.
This truth is shouted and emphasized throughout the New Testament.
Look at the conversation of Jesus with a man named Nicodemus in John, chapter 3. “Flesh give birth to flesh, but the Spirit give birth to spirit.”
In these few words Jesus makes it clear that only being born into this world from our parents (fleshly birth) does not give us the capabilities to produce the things of God.
No matter how good Mary was as a person, and she appears from Scripture to be an excellent individual, she could not produce what God wanted without the Holy Spirit doing the work within her.
Nicodemus was an educated, religious man, but he, too, needed more than his own capabilities to be acceptable to God.
Jesus then states the obvious to Nicodemus and to all of us. “You must be born again.”
Meaning, you must be born by the activity of the Spirit.
Mary could not produce her pregnancy of Jesus solo, and it is just as impossible for all individual humans to be truly spiritual with-out the help of the Holy Spirit.
The question at this Christmas season is: Are you going to be a Mary and recognize your incapacities and join God in allowing the Holy Spirit to make you pregnant with the things of God?
Or, are you going to be in the Nicodemus camp and continue to believe you have the capabilities to obtain true spiritual life without the Holy Spirit?
-Leonard Carter is a teaching minister at Sierra Community Church.