What is it about Christmas that eludes me? Is it something beyond my grasp, an emotion, a sense of completion or arrival or fulfillment? I know after many years of experience it is not a material thing. Perhaps it’s not an emotional thing either. Emotions can be manipulated. But there are times when the environment is right when I am calm and in peaceful contemplation listening to a touching musical arrangement, the tears swell. In these moments I know that the spirit of Christmas is close to me. I know this feeling is true and yet it is more than a feeling.
I seek out these moments because in them I feel closer to something comfortable but beyond understanding. I feel closer to Christmas. Like the biblical country shepherd who is drawn to the warmth of an evening fire. Who among those shepherds shivering in the cold raw darkness of a winter night would not be drawn to the light and warmth of a fire? I am drawn to the comfortable chair in a warm corner of the living room. I am drawn to those earthly things that bring warmth and comfort and joy.
Perhaps it is a spiritual warm fire, or comfy chair, or cozy blanket that my spirit seeks out. Yes, I think it is a desire of the spirit to be near that spirit of warmth, comfort, and joy.
It is in those times of personal comfort and quite that I sense the spiritual peace and reality of hope. The invisible hope beyond what can be seen, a hope for better things material and spiritual. In these short moments of this holy spiritual presence, I sense an overwhelming awareness of hope that this presence will someday be eternal. Until then I will continue to seek opportunities to be in the presence of this spirit.
As a Christian, I know the spirit of Christmas is Jesus Christ Himself in the fulfilled promise of the Holy Spirit. I would have never found the spirit of Christmas on my own. I’ve spent years chasing after the spirit of Christmas by searching out the perfect gifts, the grandest plans, and parties, the perfect friends, family or circumstance. All this time I had forgotten to open the perfect gift that I had received long ago. In my Christmas disillusion, I left this gift unopened under the Christmas tree year after year.
It was not until I read the words of a loving Father “Be still and know that I am God” and the words of a faithful friend “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest” that I realized the spirit of Christmas had found me! This spirit, the Holy Spirit, has found you as well. He is reaching out to you. Take this time to stop, open the gift and listen to His spirit. The child whom we celebrate at Christmas is the Son of promise, of prophecy, the Son of God, Emmanuel, God with us.
His life among us miraculously demonstrated His love and compassion for His creation. His death on the cross destroyed the power of death. His rising from the dead is proof that death no longer rules over us. His Holy Spirit moves within all believers to inspire works of love, goodness, and faith. This is the spirit of Christmas “Christ in us the hope of glory”. I am encouraged by the verse that calls us to “walk after the spirit, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death”.
This Christmas open the gift God has given you. Read the Gospel of John and pray for God to reveal Himself to you. Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas!