Summary: Today's Christmas message is about the overshadowing power and presence of the Holy Spirit in the conception and life of Jesus, and how the benefit of the Holy Spirit's overshadowing presence and power in the life of the believer.
Overshadowed For Christmas
When we think about shadows, we generally think of something dark and sinister that is just lurking outside our sight. And what it does is fill us with fear.
The idea or the link between shadows and fear is seen in the statement made where a person is afraid of their own shadow. This means that someone is extremely nervous, anxiety ridden, and easily frightened.
We see such fear and trepidation when people talk about death, and it’s seen in the Bible about how people view death as someone being in “The valley of the shadow of death.” But the Bible goes on to say that those who make the Lord their shepherd, who place their trust and faith in Him, that they no longer need to be afraid of this valley, or the shadow of death.
But there is another shadow that I’d like to talk about today, and it’s the idea of being overshadowed by God, because when we’re overshadowed by God we don’t have to be afraid of death’s shadow any more.
Let me make this observation at the outset of our time together. And that is, the same power that conceived Jesus, the Son of God, within the womb of Mary is the same power that works inside each and every believer in Jesus Christ.
And the power I’m talking about is the overshadowing power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
When Mary questioned how she could be pregnant, the angel answered saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon 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 1:35 NIV)
In this passage we see that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Light of the World, the Creator Himself was not conceived after the manner of men, but rather by the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit, whereby a virgin was able to conceive outside and beyond the laws of nature.
But it goes beyond that. Mary’s womb was overshadowed, that is, the life conceived within her, Jesus Christ, was also protected and maintained by the Holy Spirit.
This overshadowing presence is also seen in Jesus when He was a child.
“The child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40 NIV)
And when Jesus began His ministry we see this same overshadowing presence when John the Baptist baptized Him.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.” (Matthew 3:16 NIV)
It doesn’t say that the Holy Spirit was a dove, but came down like a dove. It’s as if the Holy Spirit descended and overshadowed Jesus.
In Luke’s Gospel, right after His baptism, it says, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert.” (Luke 4:1 NIV)
We see the same idea of overshadowing in what Jesus said to His disciples about being empowered to fulfill God’s Kingdom plans and purposes.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)
And so it was that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in the upper room on the Feast of Pentecost filling them, overshadowing them, allowing them to do things beyond their own capability.
And we see this in what Jesus said. He said that those who believe in Him will not only do the miraculous deeds that He Himself performed, but will do even greater things because He was going to the Father (Luke 14:12).
He went on to say that He wouldn’t leave us as orphans, but both He and the Father will send in His place another just like Himself, the Holy Spirit (Luke 14:26).
In John’s Gospel, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7 NIV)
And so the same overshadowing power and presence that conceived Jesus in the womb is the same overshadowing power and presence that’s available to all who believe.
In our remaining time together, what I’d like to do is to take a little time and talk about the benefits of being overshadowed.
The Benefits of Being Overshadowed
1. Receive God’s Protection
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1 NIV)