The Truth About 'Christmas Spirit' (Luke 1:34-35)
Topic: Christmas Passage: Luke 1:34–1:35
I. What is Christmas Spirit?
A familiar phrase during the holiday season is 'Christmas Spirit'. Advertisers offer this or that product or experience to help you get into 'the Christmas spirit', movies talk about the power of 'Christmas spirit', and we hear regular encouragements to practice the 'spirit of the season' with people around us. But what exactly does is meant by this phrase?
Sometimes 'Christmas spirit' is used to talk about some kind of generic belief in Santa Claus, or maybe in the 'magic of Christmas', or about reclaiming some sense of childlike wonder. More often, the 'Christmas spirit' is about being joyful and generous and gracious. This Christmas spirit isn't about presents or busyness. It's about being with loved ones and celebrating things like peace and goodwill toward others.
But as worthwhile as many of these things are, if we go back to the very first Christmas (what younger generations might call the OG Christmas), we discover something far, far better when it comes to this idea of the Christmas spirit.
II. The Passage: “The Holy Spirit Will Come Upon You”
Listen to these words from the Gospel of Luke in the NT. This is immediately after the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will give birth to the Messiah. We read in 1:34-35...
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”  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.
When we go back to that story of the very first Christmas, we find that there is only one Christmas spirit; and that spirit is the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of God. The angel tells Mary here exactly what an angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:20: the power of the Holy Spirit will bring about the miraculous birth of Christ.
What a powerful reminder for us that the original Christmas spirit, the Holy Spirit, is inseparable from God's revelation and redemption through Jesus Christ.
III. God's Wonderful Christmas Gift
But I would like you to consider another passage about this 'Christmas' Spirit. This one is from the Apostle Paul. Notice how Paul first touches on the Christmas story, then explains this significance of that story for us, and significance directly connected to the Spirit. This is Galatians 4:4–6...
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Brothers and sisters, friends, whatever circumstances you are facing this evening, whatever concerns you have about the new year, whatever loss or lack or even lie that you are wrestling with, please know that there is Good News this Christmas. And it's good news about the Christmas Spirit... the Holy Spirit. Not only did the power of the Holy Spirit bring about the miraculous birth of Christ two-thousand years ago, but the power of the Holy Spirit can still bring about miraculous birth in Christ today.
It turns out Christmas really is about children: first and foremost, the child born to Mary, and second, the children of God born as a result of the redemption accomplished by Mary's son; children of God who cry “Abba! Father!” because of the Spirit's work. Words like believe and wonder and joyful and peace and family and generosity are such beautiful and important words. But ultimately, eternally, they mean nothing apart from the Spirit of God.
The Spirit of God is the power we desperately need, and amazingly, the power God graciously offers us. There is no requirement but repentance. There is no cost but surrender. There is no fee but faith. Why? Because the Spirit is a gift. The original Christmas Spirit is God's wonderful Christmas gift, the one who brings us to the Christ of Christmas, and then transforms us through the Christ of Christmas.
If you are a child of God this evening, then in your celebrations this season, be sure to celebrate the Holy Spirit, the true Christmas Spirit. Give thanks for the present that is His presence. Walk by His guidance. Draw upon His power. Ask God even now that the Spirit's work would be renewed in you, that the original Christmas Spirit would be evident in your life, to you and everyone in your circle.
And if you are not yet a child of God, then I simply ask you, “Will you receive the gift of God this evening?” How can you do that? First, you must unlock your grip; that is, you must recognize and remorsefully reject the sinful self-sufficiency that separates you from God. Then, with open hand, you must trust that the child in the manger became the man who paid your debt; that through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, Jesus did what you need most: he ransomed you. Only He has made forgiveness possible, and only he, through the Holy Spirit, the Christmas Spirit, has made new life possible; new life that is both now and forever with God.
So when you hear about 'Christmas spirit' this season, remember God's priceless gift: the true, the original Christmas Spirit, the Spirit of God. Will you join me as we give thanks for God's radical generosity and the hope of change and new life in Jesus? Let's pray.
More in Christmas Messages
December 23, 2018A Lasting Peace (Luke 2:13, 14)
December 18, 2016The Lesson of the Christmas Tree (John 8:12-14)
December 20, 2015What's Missing (Acts 4:12)(Christmas Family Service)