Matthew 1:18 – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” NKJV
As we approach the Christmas season, I decided not to focus just on the birth of Jesus, but rather, on Jesus Himself. Whether you are a participant of the holiday season or a spectator, you have to admit that there is something exciting about this time of year. As much as we look forward to Thanksgiving Day, we immediately begin thinking that the holiday season has begun, meaning the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.People begin decorating their homes and businesses, radio stations begin playing Christmas music all day long, and everyone begins vying for our money to become their money. Even with all that, we have the attitude of B. B. King, in his hit song, “Christmastime Comes But Once a Year!” This time of the year is so different from the rest of the year, that we have even heard much talk about the Spirit of Christmas. Today, I want to talk about the true Spirit of Christmas.
In our text for today, Matthew summarizes the birth of Jesus in a few short verses. He writes that after the betrothal of Mary and Joseph, and before the wedding night, Mary is found with child of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t elaborate on what happened, he just tells us that it happened.
Luke on the other hand goes into more detail. He lets us in on the visitation of the angel Gabriel to both Zachariah and Mary. Both visits are life altering for the individuals involved, but only one visit would impact the world for all eternity! The angel told Mary that she was about to become pregnant and give birth to a Son. Not just any son, but the Son of the Highest. His name was to be Jesus, He was going to be great, and He would be given the throne of His father David! Wow! That’s a lot for someone take in at one time. But Mary did it!
Here’s where things get really interesting. Mary is single but not quite. She is an upright young woman and getting ready to finalize her betrothal to Joseph with culmination of the wedding night. God interrupts their plans and their lives to bring Jesus into the natural realm. This had to be pretty unsettling. Yet, all Mary wanted to know was how would it happen? The angel said,
The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, causing the Seed to be implanted in her womb, that she would bring forth the Son of God, in the flesh. The true Spirit of Christmas is not in the music, not in the decorations, nor in the excitement that permeates the atmosphere; it is in the Spirit of the Living God who gave life to Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit! Most men would have been outraged with the turn of these events, and Joseph was no exception! When Joseph did find out, he wanted out. But the Spirit of God was the Conductor of all that was transpiring. He knew He could trust these two young people with a difficult, never have ever happened, and never will ever happen again, event! Remember our key text, “she was found with child”. Joseph knew it wasn’t his child, and he had difficulty believing that she was pregnant by a means other than the natural channel. So much so, that he sought a private annulment of the marriage. But God spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him what the Holy Spirit had done to bring this baby about, and Joseph surrendered his will and his pride to the will of the Father. That had to be tough on these two, they knew people would talk, but Joseph took Mary immediately into his home and six months later, Jesus was born. You guys know we are forever doing the math! They were worst in Joseph’s and Mary’s day! The Spirit had a hard time keeping everything a secret. He was excited about Jesus coming into the earth. He told two of His faithful followers about this exciting birth! Simeon was one of them.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God! Luke 1:35
Luke 2:26 – 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. NKJV
So on the day that Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple, the Spirit caused Simeon to go to the temple at that exact moment. He not only saw Jesus, but he took Jesus in his arms and blessed God for letting him see Jesus before he departed the earth. Then Anna came in, at just the right moment, to witness the reality of the Messiah, her Savior. He had come to set His people free! Glorious day!
Let’s go back to Jesus. He’s all grown up now, and has had at least 30 birthdays. He is getting ready to be released into ministry to accomplish the task God has set before Him.
In John chapter 1, John the Baptist makes this declaration:
John 1:32 – “And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.” NKJV
The Spirit of Christmas, God’s Holy Spirit, wasn’t just available to Jesus at His birth. He was available to Jesus throughout His life. After all, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Father, was Jesus’ true Father. Therefore, before Jesus began His public ministry, His Father, once again, sends His Spirit to Him. This time, the Spirit doesn’t give Him life, but He releases an anointing upon Him to fulfill His assignment. Luke writes about it in Acts:
Acts 10:38 – “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. NKJV
All that Jesus accomplished in His physical body, He accomplished because of the Spirit of God that gave Him life, and anointed Him for ministry. His Spirit is just as active today, in His Bride, and in His Church.
Too often when we think of Christmas, we forget or miss what God was really doing in bringing Jesus in the form of man. It was even more exciting at that time, then it is today. When Jesus was born, the angels were so excited they had to step into the earthly realm and shout,
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14 – NKJV
The angels were excited about that first “Christmas” experience. They were excited about the greatest gift ever given, the gift of God, Jesus! They were excited from heaven’s perspective of all that He would accomplish for the Father. They were excited!
I believe that even though Christmas has become so commercialized in our day, there is still excitement surrounding the commemoration of the birth of our Lord. It’s not His actual birth day, but it is when the Christian community and thus the world, remember it.
As you celebrate Christmas this year, things will look different for most of us. Some of us will do what we want irrespective to what is happening with the virus. But most of us will comply, thereby, having a different kind of Christmas. The Spirit of Christmas, God’s Holy Spirit, is available to make this Christmas, one of the best, if not the best, you can imagine! Invite Him to you celebration and watch Him breathe life into your celebration! Wonderful Jesus!