“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” the angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:34-35
“For no word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1:37
“And the glory of the Lord appeared to the Israelites like devouring fire on the top of the mountain.” Exodus 24:17
“When Solomon had finished praying, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. The priests could not enter the house of the LORD because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.” 2 Chronicles 7:1-2
“And Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud remained upon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:35
There is a saying.”Let scripture interpret scripture.” When Gabriel tells Mary how she will become pregnant even though she has known no man, he says, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” These old testament verses explain the word overshadow.
When Mary asked the question in verse 34 “How can this be?” her “how” was different than Zechariah’s unbelief “how?” It was one of, “No, really I want to know the details of how I am going to be with the Child of the Most High God.
So Gabriel told her how.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High, will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”
That word overshadow in verse 35 is the same word used for the cloud from which the voice spoke at the Transfiguration. It refers to the cloud that manifested the glory of God in Exodus 40.
Again try to get your mind on that scene. Mary getting wrapped up in that glorious cloud. I gotta believe she felt it. I gotta believe she knew the moment when the Son of God entered her. This verse is speaking of the Shikinah Glory of the Lord. This is the Glory that filled the Tent of Meeting overpowering so much space that Moses couldn’t even enter the Tabernacle. This is the same Glory of the Lord that filled and overpowered the temple of the Lord so much so that the priests couldn’t even enter the temple. Now even as I am imagining the moment that the power of the Most High overshadowed Mary, my throat is constricting, my heart feels as if it is overpowering my chest. Yes I gotta believe Mary could feel the moment The Son of God entered her womb as an embryo. I gotta believe it was a moment that couldn’t be ignored. I gotta believe she felt the Holy Spirit of God come upon her. What a day! What a moment! The God of all creation implanted His only Begotten Son into the womb of a young girl who had never known a man! At that moment could Father God already feel the absence of His Son sitting enthroned with Him in the heavenlies? His absence was our gain. At that moment The Son of God wrapped up all of His Glory and Majesty and Royalty in the form of an embryo. At that moment the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords traded in a throne for a womb. I gotta believe the Cloud of Glory that overshadowed Mary at this moment was palpable. I gotta believe it was visible. I gotta believe it was a magical moment.
I have had that magical moment. I still remember it. I still remember asking Jesus to come and forgive me of my sins and live in my heart. I remember coming home from Sunday night church. There was a song sung. “Fill my cup Lord. I lift it up Lord. “ I still remember knowing I needed a Savior. It was a long long time ago. I was eight. I still remember. It did feel good. I did feel the weight of God’s Glory coming and filling my heart, but at the same moment it felt like a weight had been lifted off of me.
Do you remember that moment when the Holy Spirit of God overshadowed you and came to live in your heart?
Because the Holy Spirit was the agent of conception we call Mary’s child Son of God.
I challenge each of us to start praying this prayer starting with this Christmas season…
“Lord fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Overshadow me as you did Mary so that I might love Jesus as You love Your Son.”
I guarantee that is a prayer God desires to say yes to us.