The New Testament uses the phrase “in Christ” or something similar more than a hundred times. It refers to Christ being in the believer less often, but those references are very important, especially during Advent as we look forward to the birth of Christ.
In Colossians 1:27, Paul summarized his message as “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” And how does Christ get in us? The same way he got in Mary: it takes a miracle. If every day by that miracle someone accepts Christ, then the birth of Christ happens every day.
How Christ was born in Mary
The day began for a young girl in Bethlehem the same way any other day of her life began, but at some point her life took a dramatic turn. The girl, of course, was Mary, who was startled to see the angel Gabriel and hear him talk to her. He had a deal from God: Mary would become pregnant with a son, whom she was to name Jesus, who would inherit the throne of David and be known as the Son of the Most High.
Mary must not have immediately grasped that part about Son of the Most High. She was betrothed, but not yet married. She was still a virgin. So she asked how, under the circumstances, God would bring this promise about. In Luke 1:35 Gabriel answered, “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.” In other words, he told her that no natural human activity could accomplish God’s supernatural purpose.
There is only one difference between what happened to Mary and what has happened to every believer since then: She became supernaturally pregnant. From there had an entirely natural gestation and childbirth, resulting in an entirely natural baby boy. Later in life, she, too, had to receive her natural son into her heart as her supernatural Lord and savior.
How Christ is born in every believer
If you are a believer, you became one by the miracle of a supernatural answer to the prayer expressed so beautifully in a Christmas hymn: “O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in. Be born in us today.”
Has the Holy Spirit come upon you? Has the power of the Most High overshadowed you? Then the holy Son of God has been born in you by a Christmas miracle, no matter what time of year it happened. At a time when we adore Jesus as a baby, you and I must keep asking ourselves questions like these:
- Has the holy innocence of the Christ child, his simplicity and oneness with the Father shown itself in my life?
- When people look for us in normal earthly pursuits, do they find us going about our Father’s business?
- Am I simple enough to identify with my Lord in his own daily dependence on the Father?
- Am I living by Christ in me, the hope of glory?
- Or am I setting him aside like an unopened package or mere decoration?
The world has been clamoring for the Son of God to be put to death ever since he revealed himself to the world. If Christ is born in me, the world clamors to put him to death in me, not recognizing that I am also in Christ; I have died and my life is hidden in him. Let us cherish the supernatural union we have with Christ, close our spiritual ears to the world’s clamor, and daily make room in our hearts for quiet, close, holy fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit who lives within us.