Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Blessings to You in the New Year!


Only through the revelation of the Holy Spirit can the glory and the enigma of the incarnation be understood.

That the Holy Spirit came upon a little peasant teenager living in an obscure village in an area most Jews referred to derogatorily as Galilee of the Gentiles should make us take pause and reflect a bit.

The town of Nazareth is so obscure that driving there, it’s easy to miss it, which is what happened to us when we visited it some years back. Mary was the ultimate nobody from a real nowhere town, and yet we’ve become so familiar with the story that we forget how ordinary and unassuming was the person and place through which God chose to bring his Son into the world.

Furthermore, Mary travels what would be considered a huge distance—while most likely 9 months pregnant—from her home in Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfill the Roman census demand. A demand that seems most harsh, and yet God allowed it to come forth right when the woman carrying His very Son is closing in on baby day, so that the ancient Hebrew prophecy would be fulfilled.

The next scene has to really boggle the mind, and yet the familiarity of it all obscures its reality: Mary is out in a manger giving birth to the Savior amongst barnyard animals. The true rawness and grit of it all is often lost on us modern folk who see so many romantic depictions of this scene in Christmas plays and Christmas cards. We forget that this was a dirty, smelly barnyard. It is a place not much different from where the poorest of the poor often still dwell in our world even today.

While in a little Mexican village one time we visited some of the little plywood shacks with their dirt floors where I saw a little baby lying all wrapped up with a little teenage mother—the significance of the scene was not lost on me.

God reached down to the lowliest point in both the manger and on the cross to our lowest depths of sinful broken humanity. In all our poverty of spirit He identifies himself as one of us while still remaining sinless and God the Son, taking on Himself the transgressions of a fallen race that we might receive grace and redemption.

Much like the New Testament, which is written in the crude koine Greek of the marketplace, not the high Greek of Homer or The Iliad, with even some of its portions being penned by fishermen and tax collectors, hardly the scholarly type. It was in fact Alexander the Great’s conquest that spread the Greek language all over the known world and made it a language that was no longer high and scholarly but that of the everyman. God’s Living Word—both written and incarnated—reaches down to us right where we are in our human lowliness and brokenness.

On every level, God the Father reaches down and meets us right where we are. Stripping away all human pride and loftiness, He meets us with compassion when we are willing to divorce ourselves from the arrogance that stains the human condition and humbly receive His grace and mercy that He offers so freely—another thing the mind of fallen man has a hard time accepting—yet freely He forgives and receives us, adopting us as His very own.

The little baby crying in the manger cries to us to receive His abundant grace in Christ the Savior and the comfort of the Holy Spirit so that our human brokenness might be healed.


Another aspect of the Christmas message that is often overlooked is the prominent role the Holy Spirit plays in the Christmas narrative.

Luke’s Christmas narrative is infused throughout with references to the Holy Spirit. Often overlooked in the Christmas story, the Spirit of God is in fact at its core. From beginning to end, the story of Christmas is an account of the supernatural invading the natural world with angels, dreams, visions, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

To the question Mary had of how she a virgin could bear a child, the angel answered, “The Power of the Holy Spirit will come upon you…” She wasn’t told the miracle would just all of a sudden take place; no, the Holy Spirit must come upon her first for the miracle to take place. The Holy Spirit came upon her and thus God brought forth the miracle of a virgin who bore forth the Christ Child—the supernatural invaded the natural through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We’ve been blessed to experience the Holy Spirit moving in power. The wind of God was blowing in a recent meeting at a church, and the pastor’s wife testified that the wind of God blew directly upon her with an angelic visitation as we ministered amongst the congregation. On another occasion, some guys asked us to pray with them before a worship meeting, when the Holy Spirit began to be poured out right then, and what was supposed to last just a few minutes, lasted for close to two hours as they were overcome with the presence of God bowled over on the floor. Numerous healings have also been taking place, as well as a number of people receiving Christ, including a young Latvian woman who was selling things door to door that we led to Christ right on our driveway. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you”…”You shall receive power”… “Live by the Spirit.”

Nothing could be more central to getting into the Spirit of Christmas, for the true Spirit of Christmas is THE HOLY SPIRIT!!

Christmas blessings to you – Be filled afresh today and as you begin the New Year!!!
Bryan, Mercedes, and Patrick Marleaux


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

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:41

He [John the Baptist] will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Luke 1:15

His [John the Baptist’s] father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. Luke 1:67

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:26