The Holy Spirit can renew and empower us
The biblical Christmas story involves several prominent characters. Each one has their role to play in welcoming Jesus to our world. For a moment, I would like to shed light on one who doesn't ever seek the limelight. He's one who is often in the background. But, His role is critical. Without this one, the Christmas story would have never taken place. His name is the Holy Spirit. Let's look at two parts of this narrative in the next few moments, where He appears.
Luke 1:35 "And the angel answered her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.'"
It says of Mary that the Holy Spirit will "come upon you." The Greek word used here is "eperchomai" which means "to superimpose." When the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, she received power to become pregnant with the Messiah. Jesus, who was previously in Heaven on His throne, was now on earth and in Mary's womb. It was an act of the Holy Spirit.
Just eight days after Jesus' birth, Mary and Joseph brought their newborn to the Temple to "present Him to the Lord" and offer a sacrifice. The second work of the Holy Spirit, in this narrative, is seen in Luke 2:25. "Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the Temple …"
It says of Simeon as it did of Mary that the Holy Spirit was "upon" or "superimposed" over him. The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that the long-awaited Messiah had arrived. Not only did Holy Spirit build a bridge from Heaven to earth for Jesus to enter Mary, but He also sent information from Heaven to earth to place Simeon in the right place at the right time to see God in person.
My friend, Butch Wallenius, was speaking with me just days ago. He mentioned the resurrection of Jesus after He died on the cross and was buried in a tomb. Butch said, "It might sound odd talking about the death and resurrection of Jesus at Christmas when we should be celebrating His birth, but the resurrection was a rebirth of Jesus!" And who was the catalyst for this resurrection? In Romans 8:11, the Bible tells us it was "… the Spirit of [God] who raised Jesus from the dead …"
Shortly after His resurrection, in John 20, Jesus appeared to his disciples. In verse 22, it says that He breathed on them and invited them to "receive the Holy Spirit." Christ was giving them the gift they needed to do the work of reaching this world with the gospel message. He also said, "peace be with you …" (peace being the third fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22). Here we see Christ, through the Holy Spirit, empowering and comforting his followers.
Romans 8:11 tells us that the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in us who believe and follow Jesus Christ. Butch went on to say, that because this same Holy Spirit who brought resurrection life to Jesus is working in our lives today, we can be reborn or become "new creations in Christ." Not only did the Holy Spirit play a critical role in the birth and resurrection of Christ, but He is also ready and willing to work in our lives today. We can be renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit!
I don't know about you, but I am weak and in need of Heaven's power. I am at times distraught and in great need of peace. The Holy Spirit wants to "superimpose" Himself over me and you, just as He did for Mary, Simeon, Jesus and His disciples. This Christmas, I invite us all to receive the companionship, the covering, the empowerment that Christ's perfect gift, the Holy Spirit, offers to us. Like me, if you have received Christ as Lord and Savior, let's also receive His Holy Spirit as well. For more information on the Holy Spirit, I would invite you to read the book of Acts in the Bible. Merry Christmas!
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