Here we are, 3 days before Christmas. It does not seem possible! Am I the only one? Where does time go? How has it been a year already?
Luke tells us that Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy and that her neighbors and relatives celebrated with her. We also know they called the baby Zachariah, after his father, but on the 8th day mom intervened: “No. He is to be called John.” Dad agreed and it was at this time that Zachariah’s tongue was loosed, and he was once again able to talk. The Bible tells us he was praising God! Notice that he too was filled with the Holy Spirit.
“A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this.”
Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he came and set his people free. He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant, just as he promised long ago through the preaching of his holy prophets: Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand; Mercy to our fathers, as he remembers to do what he said he’d do, what he swore to our father Abraham—a clean rescue from the enemy camp, so we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live. And you, my child, “Prophet of the Highest,” will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways, present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace…” – The Message Bible Luke 1:57-80
In this one chapter we see the Holy Spirit moving mightily.
1) The Holy Spirit came over Mary, overshadowing and impregnating her.
2) Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when she heard Mary’s greeting.
3) John the Baptist, while still in his mother’s womb, filled with the Holy Spirit!
4) And then we have Zachariah, filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesying.
Why is the Holy Spirit of such importance to us? There are several correct answers to this question, but one answer is, to show us how much we are loved.
Romans 5:5-6 tells us that God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
There it is again. The gift of the Spirit. Do you believe you are loved by the Alpha and Omega?
Friends, I know this holiday season can be filled with joy and gladness; I know too it can be filled with loneliness and sadness.
This year, for me, is going to be very different than any year prior. And that’s okay. I am spending Christmas weekend with my mom. Just the two of us, and her little dog too. Buster is his name. He is a Yorkie and the smartest dog I have met. Super hyper, a bit annoying at times, but he loves his “big sissy”.
It will be nice. I love my mama. I love visiting. She lives 4 hours away, so visits are not as frequent as I would like. I am singing special music at her church. And we have invited anyone from her church that wants to join us for a potluck on Christmas Day. Yes, it will be different, but it will be lovely.
Life is full of change; ups and downs; expected events and unexpected ones, but one thing that remains true; that remains the same; that never changes, is the Love of God.
Jeremiah 31:3 tells us that the Lord has loved us with an everlasting love; with loving-kindness He tries to draw us into a relationship with Him.
This holiday season, focus, really meditate, on the reason we celebrate. It is all about Jesus. It is all about the manger and ultimately it is all about the cross.
God loves us. He is in our corner. He is fighting for us! And if God is for us, who can be against us?!?
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:32-39 NIV
That is the gift we need. That is the gift we want. This is love. This is “Agape” love. The highest form of love. It is the love of God for humans. It is a perfect love and the perfect gift.
by Jeanette Stark – Thursday, December 22, 2022