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. (Luk 1:35b)

One of the central stories of Christmas is the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary, where he informs her that Christ would be conceived in her by the Holy Spirit. The virgin birth is so crucial in establishing a new beginning for mankind. What we see in the practical experience of Mary is the same as God wants to do in us spiritually. When the angel had fully explained to her what God planned, her response was, “Let it be to me according to your word.” Was your response the same when you heard the gospel message and realised that God wanted to fill you with His Spirit? But the events of that night, when the angel visited Mary, were only the start of a very natural process. By the power of the Holy Spirit she had conceived a child and that child would grow within her womb until it was fully developed and could be born. And just as Mary’s initial willingness to cooperate with God led on to a fully formed child, so too our willingness to receive the Spirit is only the beginning of a journey. It is the starting point that enables God to move us forward to achieve His objective to see Christ fully formed in us. Paul writing to the Galatians says this, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you… (Gal 4:19)” In the case of Galatians they had started, they had received the Spirit, but something had interrupted their development and Christ had not been formed in them. Their lives did not witness to the presence and character of Christ!

Where are you this Christmas? Have you allowed God to fill you with the Holy Spirit? And if so, have you helped and encouraged His work so that in all aspects of your character it could be said that Christ is being formed in you? Or has something come in to hinder the work of the Holy Spirit and the ‘forming’ process has been hindered or stopped? What better thing to do at this time, than to repent and once again allow God to continue to mould you into the image of His Son!!