Dec 14, 2011

Putting the Spirit Back in Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of year. The countdown to Christmas has begun. It is the season of advent. This means that, other than presents, most people have one singular focus: Jesus. For the most part, that’s not bad. I would never stop someone from focusing on Jesus, especially at Christmas. I do, however, think that one person gets the short end of the stick when it comes to this season: The Holy Spirit. He did so much work at the “first Christmas” and is ignored by many at this time of year.

I just finished reading Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God and was very challenged by what he had to say. Christians are supposed to be living by the Spirit, and yet we ignore him so much. We have let ourselves forget what he has done and is still doing in the world, and yet he is probably the most important part of a believer’s life. Even though Chan doesn’t talk about Christmas, I was struck by the fact that Christmas is yet another one of those times when we have forgotten or at least failed to acknowledge the work of the spirit.

Matthew records twice within a matter just a few sentences that Jesus was conceived through the Holy Spirit. The very incarnation of Jesus, the event that we celebrate each year at Christmas, was done through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, as we remember the time of waiting for Jesus to come and we wait for Jesus to come again, we can’t forget what the Spirit is still doing. When Jesus was preparing to leave, he promised to send another counselor to be with us, the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, Jesus did not abandon us, but instead the Holy Spirit lives with us and in us as we wait for his return.

It may seem odd that I would write about the Spirit before the celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus, when the spirit has his own Church Holiday, Pentecost. But it is terrible to forget the entire work of God in this time of year. When you thank God the Father for sending his son Jesus, don’t forget to thank the Spirit for doing his work. I pray that we never forget or ignore the work of God any time of the year.
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