“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.”
In the angel Gabriel’s announcement that Mary would bear God’s Son, we learn several important things about the Holy Spirit. We discover that the Holy Spirit is God. We also learn that the Holy Spirit plays an integral role in God’s plan of salvation for humankind. The Spirit miraculously initiates the conception of Jesus, the Christ, in Mary’s womb.
But this passage also raises an important question about the power of the Holy Spirit: Does he overpower people? The key concept here is “overshadow.” The idea of “overshadowing” reminds us of the Lord’s presence hovering over the tabernacle as a “pillar of cloud” in the wilderness (Exodus 40:38). It also looks forward to the cloud that hovers over Jesus and the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration as a sign of God’s presence (Matthew 17).
So the Holy Spirit overshadows in the sense of demonstrating God’s presence, but not in the sense of dominating Mary, or anyone else. Mary, in the awesome presence of God in the person of the Holy Spirit, bends her will to do God’s will.
When the Holy Spirit presents himself in your life today, remember Mary’s words, “I am the Lord’s servant,” and serve God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind
Holy Spirit, overshadow us today with your presence, and help us to bend our wills to do your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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