by Dave Short
A number of people are consistently highlighted during the Christmas season: the magi, the shepherds, Herod, Gabriel, Joseph, Mary, and of course, baby Jesus. However, there is one Person who often doesn’t get cast in the Christmas narrative: the Holy Spirit.
There would be no Christmas story without the Holy Spirit’s involvement. The Holy Spirit didn’t serve as a backstage hand, but rather was central to the whole story. When Mary asked the angel how she would conceive a child having not had any intimate relationship with a man, the angel Gabriel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (see Luke 1:35).
The original Christmas was not only an inspirational story, but also a Spirit-filled narrative. John the Baptist’s mother’s, Elizabeth, was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary came to visit her. Luke records that she, “cried out with a loud voice” and confirmed to Mary that the child she was carrying was the Messiah (Luke 1:41). Later, we read that John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was filled with the Spirit when his son was born. He then spoke forth one of the most inspiring Messianic promises recorded in the Bible: “Give praise to the Lord, the God of Israel! He has come and set his people free. He has remembered His holy covenant” (Luke 1:67).
Towards the end of the Christmas story, Luke introduces us to “a man named Simeon. He was a good and godly man. He was waiting for God’s promise to Israel to happen. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Spirit had told Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25-26, bold mine). Luke goes on to write, “The Spirit led him (Simeon) into the temple courtyard,” at the same time that Jesus’ parents brought him into the temple.
I want to live out the Christmas story in my daily life. How about you? I want the Holy Spirit to be actively involved in speaking through me, leading me, and ordering my steps. The Christmas story is intended to be our story.
God can do something in and through you that is as much beyond anything we could do as having a child was beyond Mary’s ability. The Holy Spirit is ever ready to break into the ordinary and invade the impossible on our behalf.
This holiday, I pray that you will not be so focused on the cast of usual characters that you miss what the “central character” wants to do in and through your life, for “nothing is impossible with God.”