Oh, that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bore the Savior of our race,
And the babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.
(LSB 384 st. 2)
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God.”
Mary asks the angel Gabriel, “How will this be?” Gabriel’s reply is not only a clear revelation of salvation being the work of the Holy Trinity, and it is much more than communicating the facts of the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus. This is the fullness of what it meant for the cloud to overshadow the tent of meeting and the glory of Yahweh to fill the tabernacle. God is always about dwelling with His people (Revelation 21:3). Therefore, Jesus takes on human flesh. The Holy Spirit comes upon the tent of Mary’s own body, the power of the Most High Father overshadows her, and the glory of Yahweh fills the tabernacle of her womb. God does this in order to dwell with mankind forever (Matthew 28:20).
Although Mary alone bears the title Theotokos (“God-bearer”), the Christian shares in the same pattern of God’s saving work in their own life. By Word and Baptism, the Holy Spirit comes upon us and we are made temples of the Holy Spirit. The Incarnate Christ comes to dwell in the body of the Christian as they receive the Holy Supper of the body and blood of the Lord. How can this be? All of this is possible because “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). That little baby in Mary’s womb is God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself and it is that work that does the great things that these gifts deliver to us here and now. God makes us His beloved sons, gives His Holy Spirit, and dwells among and in us by the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: Almighty Father, God Most High, You sent the Holy Spirit upon Mary and caused her to bear Your Beloved Son in her womb, that He would dwell with and redeem humanity. Send Your Holy Spirit upon us and dwell in us that we would live each day in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(Stanley Lacey, Sem II)