During this time of year it is not uncommon for people to refer to the atmosphere that is created by the holidays as the Spirit of Christmas. Is there some mysterious spirit that only is detectable during the last month of the year or is it something more.
If we look at the Christmas story we see that the birth of Jesus was announced to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds by angels. These angels were God’s messengers. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit to go and reveal the message of the coming Messiah. We also see that when Mary went to see Elizabeth that the baby in her womb jumped at the sound of her voice. This was a result of the Holy Spirit being present in that moment. The Holy Spirit played a major role in the Christmas story. This was the introduction of the role that Holy Spirit would soon play in the life of every believer.
The Holy Spirit announced Jesus’ birth, but would soon be revealed as the promise that would be given to every believer to guide and direct their lives. We see in John 3 that when Jesus was baptized the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. Then a voice from heaven affirmed that Jesus was indeed God’s son. The Holy Sprit always preceded the proclamation of God. After he was baptized, we see that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. As a result, in John 4 we see that he was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert. After he was tempted in the desert, we see in John 4:14 that he returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Sprit. It is interesting to see the progression of how the Holy Spirit works.
First we see that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. We must be totally yielded to God in order to be filled with the Spirit. In John 3:21-22 we see that Jesus was obedient to his Father and was baptized. This was how the Messiah was to be revealed to the world. As a result of this obedience, we see that God wanted to praise the son and even said, “You are my son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life” (MSG). We see that when the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove that was a mark that separated Jesus from everyone else. When the Holy Spirit controls our lives it marks us a different from others in the world.
Later when Jesus returned from the Jordan now that he was full of the Holy Spirit, He could now be led by the Holy Spirit. When we are full of the Holy Spirit, then we can be led by the Spirit. Too often we are not led by the Sprit but by are led by the flesh. We must constantly be in tune with God and constantly be “filling” up on the Holy Spirit. In order to be filled, we must empty our selves of everything else to make space for the filling to take place. Once filled, then we can be led.
Once we have been filled, and are being led, then and only then can we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. In John 4:14 we see after Jesus was tempted he returned in the power of the Holy Spirit. We often miss out what God has for us because we attempt things in the power of the flesh rather than in the power of the Holy Spirit.
During this Holiday Season, it is important for us to recapture the idea that the Holy Spirit is at work. The holidays cause us to be more generous and helpful than we would be normally throughout the year. It that because the Holy Spirit only moves during the holidays? It may be that we are more sensitive to the Spirit’s leading during this season because we are focused on the meaning of Christmas and therefore are more attentive to its movement. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us year round. Then we will be led to do the things that God calls us to do and then we will be able to accomplish them under the power of the Spirit rather than our own strength.