How Can This Be?


Debbie and I have been in Atlanta celebrating Christmas with Stephanie and her family. On Friday we made the trip to Columbus, Georgia to visit my aunt Annalee (Summers) Cogar and her family. It was good to reconnect with some family members that I had not seen in 10 years. That’s what Christmas is all about.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  Luke 1:34,35 NKJV

Christmas is a time of miracles and prophecies fulfilled. One of the most perplexing is the virgin birth. It was one of the prophetic utterances that has been applied to the birth of the Messiah. Isaiah declared, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV)

An angel appearing to a young woman would be troubling enough. Fear and confusion gripped her heart. But then then news that she would give birth to a child was more than mind and emotions could comprehend. The “gut level” response in our day would be, “that’s impossible!” or “you’ve got to be kidding!”

Outside of the common response of fear when an angel appears, it seems the next most common response to an announcement of a miracle is the question, “how can this be?” or some variation. For example when Zacharias was told that his wife, Elizabeth, would give birth to a son he asked, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” (Luke 1:18 NKJV)

Like Mary, this was a response of, “it doesn’t make sense!” “I am being asked to believe the unbelievable.” But that is exactly what faith is about. We find ourselves constantly trapped in human thinking and the limitations of what we know and have experienced when it comes to spiritual realities.

To embrace a miracle we must believe that which doesn’t make sense to us and that which can take place through no other means than God’s intervention.

It is interesting and without sovereign purpose that the angel ended his message to Mary by telling her how that her aged relative Elizabeth was already six months pregnant. He then uttered the words of encouragement,  “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37 NKJV)

So can see faith is taking God at His word. It is not giving in to what our carnal minds can “figure out” or accept. God has a way, God makes a way for the impossible to be possible.

Then we can see how our faith is encouraged by God’s faithfulness and the miracles He performs for others. The angel’s news in telling Mary she will conceive through the Holy Spirit is followed by the news that Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age, a miracle from God, foretold and fulfilled by an angel.

One day Jesus told a pharisee that to see God’s kingdom he had to be born again. He asked Jesus,  “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4 NKJV) But Jesus was talking about spiritual birth and spiritual life. Nicodemus believe Jesus was offering him something better than what he was experimenting, Jesus was offering him a new life and what he had not experienced or known.

It was only possible the same way Mary became the mother of Jesus, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you.” Let’s remember the greatest miracle is the miracle of life. Not just physical life, but spiritual life that changes everything both now and for eternity. That’s the miracle of Christmas.