By November 29, 2014 0 Comments More Information →

A HOLY SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTMAS

It is important to recognize that the Holy Spirit was involved in every step of the Christmas story. This holiday season, pay closer attention to the Spirit’s work in the miracle of the Incarnation.

Luke sheds a light on the work of the Holy Spirit in his gospel. His account of the birth of Jesus is the most detailed, and he highlights the Holy Spirit’s activity in the lives of five people in the first two chapters.

Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, may have doubted God’s ability to give his barren wife a child, but after he was struck dumb in the temple, he was filled with the Spirit when his son was born, and he began to prophesy. Humbled and chastised by God, Zechariah gained new strength from the Spirit and uttered one of the richest Messianic promises recorded in Scripture, The Canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1:67+). This is prayed daily by the Church today in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Zechariah reminds us that the Holy Spirit refines and corrects us, and ultimately uses us in spite of our failures and weaknesses.

Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, rarely appears in nativity scenes or Christmas card illustrations. Yet Luke tells us that she was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary came to visit her at her home in Judah (Luke 1:41). How was the Spirit’s power manifested in her life? Luke says she “cried out with a loud voice” and announced that Mary was carrying the Christ Child. Her prophetic encouragement was crucial in Mary’s life.

Elizabeth reminds us that the Spirit is an Encourager and Comforter.

Even the baby John was filled with the Holy Spirit while in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). This was an exceptional miracle, but because John’s task was so great—to call wayward Israel to repentance and prepare the way for Jesus—he required exceptional power.

John reminds us that if we attempt any task for God, we must do it in the power of the Spirit. It must be God’s idea and it must be soaked in the Holy Spirit’s anointing from the moment of conception!

When the young Mary asked Gabriel how she would be able to conceive the Messiah as a virgin, the angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). Giving her ‘yes’ immediately, she later affirms Elizabeth’s word and begins to praise the Lord extravagantly, extolling Him for His mercy, power and faithfulness.

Mary reminds us that one of the key manifestations of the Spirit in our lives is praise and worship. Being filled with the Spirit automatically unleashes uninhibited praise. If our praise is subdued, casual or restrained, then we need a fresh infilling.

Toward the end of the Christmas narrative, Luke also introduces us to an elderly man named Simeon who had been praying for the coming of the Messiah for many years. The Holy Spirit was “upon” this man (Luke 2:25), and the Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen Jesus. As it turned out, Simeon held the baby Jesus in his arms, spoke a prophetic blessing over the child, and prophesied to his mother.

Simeon reminds us that the Spirit will give us the power to hold onto God’s promises no matter how many years it takes to see their fulfillment.

The original Christmas was Spirit-filled. This holiday don’t be so focused on the decorations and distractions that you miss what the Holy Spirit wants to do in and through you. Have a blessed and reflective Advent and prepare the way of the Lord.

Reprinted from Charisma Magazine, 600 Rinehart Rd., Lake Mary, FL 32750. charismamag.com. Used by permission.

 

 

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