Advent's Hidden Miracle

Sunday, December 13, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"1 (Lyrics)

Luke 1:35 – The angel said to [Mary], "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 holy; he will be called Son of God." (NRSV)

Did you notice the hidden miracle here? It's the conception of new life within Mary's womb. This, I say, is Advent's hidden miracle! Nobody witnessed this amazing overshadowing of the Spirit, not even Mary. Yet, what followed would be noticed, first by Mary, then Joseph, and soon the community. Thirty years would pass before the hidden miracle revealed its potency — through Jesus' public ministry. His teachings and healings bore evidence of the mighty wind of the Spirit. It blew across ancient Palestine. Unsuspecting citizens, whether rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, were tossed in the mighty wind — swept up in its unstoppable force. Yet, no one saw the hidden beginning; no one identified the moment. But they certainly witnessed the effect, through God's incarnate Son. Doesn't that remind you of Jesus' words to Nicodemus:

John 3:7-8 – Do not be astonished that I said to you, "You must be born from above." The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (NRSV)

Did you notice the hidden miracle here? It's the conception of new life birthed within the hearts of sinners. It's the miracle of spiritual rebirth through the same Spirit who overshadowed Mary.

Perhaps you feel unclear about this "rebirth" teaching … understandably. After all, both too little and too much has been made of it. While many professing Christians disregard any need for new birth, others try to contrive it through human methods — to make the wind blow as they see fit. Many mistakenly rely on certain behaviours or initial emotions as proof, rather than to wait for enduring evidence. Perhaps you wonder about yourself, asking, How real is this hidden miracle within me personally?

Mary's testimony may help. After all, her experiences are common among those truly born of the Spirit. Consider these examples, drawn from Luke 1 and 2:

    1. Mary was bewildered initially.
    2. She was personally assured of God's hand in her situation.
    3. She fully submitted herself to God's plan.
    4. She sensed God's favour upon her.
    5. She deeply felt her humble and unworthy state.
    6. She saw herself as part of God's grand purpose.
    7. Her joy erupted into heartfelt adoration.

Do such experiences reflect your own life? If not, why not approach the heavenly Father for insight? He knows your need best, after all, and He is also eager to "give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13b NRSV)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise You for Advent's hidden miracle, and for the ongoing miracle of rebirth. May this apply to each of us personally. Help us, like Mary, to treasure such things in the secret places of our hearts. May we, too, ponder over the marvels of Your Spirit's mighty wind. Amen.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Love this reflection, Diane.

    I love it! Well said Diane! A delight.

    Thank you for sharing this uplifting devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thanks, Diane. This is an unusual and appropriate application of the incarnation.

    Such a beautiful insight. Thank you for today’s devotional.
    Blessings this Christmas and always.

    Thank you for your devotional. It truly helps us to identify how the Holy Spirit nudges us and helps us understand the wonder of God’s Word and how His Love touches us. A lady in her 90’s got me started with PresbyCan several years ago and now I am passing it on to two ladies in their 90’s who still communicate via their computers. I read this every morning and am blessed at age 88. The prayer requests are also a special challenge. Blessings.

    Thank you, Diane, for this devotional on this 3rd Sunday of Advent. My daughter is a gifted artist and did a huge Advent painting that hangs in the front for all to see as they enter the church. It has 4 candles that she paints in the light. Sometimes this week she’ll paint in the 4th light. I thank God that she uses her gift that is a blessing to many.
    Have a blessed week ahead in spite of what we all are going through. We know Who is in charge!!

    Another winner. Thanks Diane.

    That’s a fascinating comparison and not something I have thought if.
    Thank you for a new insight.

    Dear Diane Eaton,
    I pray that God will continue to give you such great ideas for devotions. Have a blessed Christmas without too many persons present. May God’s Spirit be sensed and known through his Way and Word.

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