Being Filled With Christmas Spirit
For the longest time, I read the Christmas story in the gospel of Luke (Chapters 1–2) not fully appreciating that Luke was writing much more than a history of the birth of Jesus. In fact, Luke states why he wrote his letter; “that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught [about Jesus]” (Luke 1:4). Luke wrote specifically to Theophilus – which means “Friend of God” in Greek. Luke wanted this man’s given name to be a spiritual reality. Friendship to God can likewise be a spiritual reality for you and me. That is truly amazing! Sinners can be friends of Holy God!
John the Baptist is a great example for the Church to consider when thinking about Christmas and responding to Jesus. He was born to prepare the way for Jesus and “to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77). The church likewise has been commissioned to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known…” (Ephesians 3:10).
Interestingly, John the Baptist was fulfilling his purpose before he was even born. When a pregnant Mary went to visit Elizabeth, her cousin, who was also pregnant with John the baptist. Luke records, “And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby [John] leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41a). Elizabeth responds by calling Mary “mother of my Lord (Luke 1:43). What caused her to call Jesus Lord?
It is unwise to speculate too much about what is happening here because the text is simply not explicit in explaining why John jumped in the womb. What is evident is the Holy Spirits involvement; “the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41b). Earlier in the text, an Angel told Zachariah, “[John] will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). Much could be said about being filled with the Holy spirit but simply put, If someone is filled with the Holy Spirit, there is no room for anything else.
The Holy Spirit does the will of the Father. When filled with the Holy spirit, the power of Greed, selfish ambition, and fleshly desires that all men have are drowned out by the desire to do the will of the Father. What is the will of the Father? Jesus said, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life…” John 6:40).
When John the Baptist jumped in his mother’s womb He was acknowledging the presence of the messiah and therefore he did all he could do to proclaim the truth of Immanuel (God with us). The Church, like John the baptist, is called to prepare the way for Jesus. The Lord used John even in his mother’s womb! Surely we the church can be encouraged by this and do what we can to proclaim that God is here!
Just because Jesus came into the world does not mean the world will come to Him. This is why the church must go and tell the goods news – because Jesus came and he went to the cross to pay for our sins that we might become friends of God, and what’s more, children of God!