Spirit of Peace
We've entered into a season where we start to feel the “Spirit of Christmas.” For Ryan and me, it started on Thanksgiving night with a family viewing of Elf and continued with a tour of the Christmas lights at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. Getting into the Christmas spirit for us means going to see the Zoolights at the National Zoo and going to Handel’s Messiah at the Kennedy Center. It includes watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on television-- although I would love for someone to tell me how that is not a Halloween movie...the Island of Misfit Toys is the creepiest thing I have ever seen. I just posted a list of 30 things that I love doing at Christmas to celebrate the Christmas spirit.
The “true Spirit of Christmas” is a topic that people have pontificated about in songs and books and Christmas greetings for hundreds of years. But I might submit that the true Spirit of Christmas can be found in the person of the Holy Spirit himself.
At NCC, we are reading through the Bible together this year, and last week we began our Christmas readings in Isaiah and Luke. As our team began reading through them, we were struck by the prominent role that the Holy Spirit plays in the Christmas story. We are very accustomed to thinking about God the Father sending His Son. But we don’t often think about what that third person of the Trinity is up to. Isaiah refers to the role of the Spirit at Christmas at least half a dozen times—that the Spirit will come on Christ and empower him to preach and heal and minister. To rule with justice and to bring peace. In Luke, the angel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will bear a Son. When Elizabeth sees her cousin Mary, we are told that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was upon Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, and he prophesied about the coming of Messiah. The Holy Spirit came upon Simeon in the Temple and he looked forward to seeing Messiah before he died.
The Holy Spirit plays a prominent role in the Christmas story. He conceived Christ in Mary. And he pointed people towards the coming Christ. The true Spirit of Christmas is the Holy Spirit himself. And if we are to live in the true Spirit of Christmas, it means we must be filled with the Spirit. It means allowing the Spirit to conceive Christ in us and living in such a way that our lives point to Christ. Then, we experience and become conduits for the Spirit of peace, love, and joy.