The Annunciation of the Birth of Christ


Pinturicchio: Borgia Apartments, Annunciation. Image from The Vatican archive via Huffpost. The image depicts Mary, wearing a blue mantle, kneels on the right and offers a humble gesture of greeting to the angel, who approaches her from the left holding a lily.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “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. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her  (Luke 1:26-38).

Remembering the historic Day of Pentecost

Icon of the Pentecost

Icon of the Pentecost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acts 2

New King James Version (NKJV)

Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Crowd’s Response

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

Peter’s Sermon

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.
Your young men shall see visions.
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My men servants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
that whoever calls on the name of the Lord
shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God. You have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was impossible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says about Him:

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore, being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’

36 “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

A Vital Church Grows

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had needed.

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

The Filter of God’s truth

Detail - Glory of the New Born Christ in prese...

Image via Wikipedia

“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church” (Ephesians 4:14-15).

One of the greatest errors that a follower of Christ can make is to believe something that is a lie. There is a powerful filter that God has given you to keep all lies from setting into your thinking process.

The filter that is available to you is God’s truth. When a thought first enters your mind there is an important question you must ask, “Is this thought the truth?” But your answer to this question cannot be based upon your reasoning, because truth transcends reason; your answer cannot be based upon your experiences, because they are too subjective; your answer cannot be based upon your circumstances, because they are always changing.

The answer can only come from God’s Word, the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and the testimony of Jesus Christ. “. . . If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31-32).

The truth is constant, it cannot change, and it doesn’t retreat like humans do. It is always staring you in face and eating at your conscience like a mouse nibbles at cheese.


There are times when the truth is not what we want to hear,
Then perhaps question it, almost before it reaches the ear.
When the truth’s been disguised, it’s difficult to recognize,
Then as it’s revealed, it may catch some people by surprise.

Truth of the activities of some, if known, would cause shame,
Instead of being what they pretend, mud would be their name.
As the truth’s known, some may receive credit that’s past due,
For they’re behind the scenes doing those things others want do.

The place to go if the fountain of truth we seek to discover,
Is God’s Word, for there it is contained from cover to cover.
God’s instruction book to man that he can live a truthful life,
Dealing with the events that could cause him trouble and strife.

Jesus is the way, truth and life, only through Him is God reached,
And that’s the way it is, no matter how differently it’s preached.
He said, trust him, we’ll know the truth and it will set us free,
Although He said this some years ago,

What’s the benefit for enduring hardship for Christ?

Holy Spirit Stained Glass

“If we endure hardship in His name, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us” (2 Timothy 2:12)

There are many blessings that belong to those who endure hardship while carrying out the work of Jesus Christ. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Some of those blessings are for now and others are for later. The grace and joy that are yours in the Holy Spirit are an important part of your present blessings. As wonderful and precious as these blessings are, the future blessings are quite astonishing.

So, as you press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, brace yourself to suffer affliction from those who oppose Christ. Affliction is a very real part of every believer’s journey here on earth. Affliction includes anything that brings difficulty, tribulation, persecution, or trouble because of your love for Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us that the early believers celebrated when they were persecuted for their faith. That response is possible because there is an amazing grace that God gives you when you walk through affliction of any kind.

It is a grace that provides you with an inner joy even during the hardest of times. This joy is produced by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who puts within you everything you need to endure. The apostle Paul say best in 1 Thessalonians 1:6: “And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit:

Beloved, as you continue to faithfully serve, irrespective of your circumstance, the One who reigns over all, you will one day join Him and reign with Him when He returns to establish His kingdom here on earth. Think of it, you will actually reign with the One who now reigns over you.

What a glorious future is ahead of you. No wonder the Bible declares, “What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later” (Romans 8:18).