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A Spirit-Filled Christmas

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A Spirit-Filled Christmas

I love Christmas music until the day after Christmas. The song on the radio cheerfully says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle belling, and everyone telling you, ‘Be of good cheer…’ it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” While that’s generally true about the Christmas season, it can also be one of the most stressful, painful and lonely times of the year. Family time, all on it’s on, can be stressful and challenging!

Christmas has always been stressful. When we read the biblical story of Christ’s birth, we see people whose lives that had been turned upside down. Can you imagine the stress Mary must have felt at that first Christmas? She was a young, pregnant virgin. Pregnant and virgin don’t go together! It’s a good thing that Mary and Joseph didn’t have FB, Twitter or the Maury Povich show to prove who’s the daddy.

When we read the Christmas story from the Bible, we see shepherds, angelic choirs and Mary holding the Son of God in her arms. But, if you pay attention and look a little deeper, you’ll see their lives were very chaotic and uncertain. They must have had more questions than answers.

At times, they were totally stressed out, but God gave them exactly what they needed in the moment that they needed it. He gave them the power of the Holy Spirit. “How can this happen?” Mary asked the angel. “I am a virgin.” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. Nothing is impossible with God.” “I serve the Lord,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me just as you said it would.” Then the angel left her.”[1]

For some of you the stress of Christmas goes much deeper than sibling rivalry or past hurts.

The thought of Christmas 2015, brings a whole new level of anxiety and despair because, in your life, everything has changed.

  • Maybe you’re experiencing health challenges, and you’re not sure what tomorrow holds. You may even be wondering what Christmas future will look like if you’re not in it.
  • Perhaps you lost a loved one this year, and you’re trying to imagine what Christmas will feel like without them. Our family lost two—Missy Bontrager and Marvin Snow.
  • You may have lost your marriage and you’re still trying to figure out who you’re going to spend Christmas with and what gatherings your children will be attending without you.

These are painful and uncertain decisions we have to make. That’s the reality for some of us. Things are going to different from now on, so do we:

  • Live this, new life we are suddenly thrust into?
  • Move into this Christmas season and find joy when our hearts haven’t felt any joy for months?
  • Experience peace when lately all we’ve felt is pain and uncertainty?
  • Rebuild hope for the future?

Mary received strength by the Holy Spirit to conceive and carry God’s Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. This same power and strength is available to you today. The Holy Spirit is a foreign concept to many people. Many Christians have never been taught about the Holy Spirit—who He is, what He does, and why He is so important to our everyday lives.

Our hope and prayer is that during this HOLY-DAY season, you and your family will be filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with peace and the power of God to overcome and prevail.

[1] Luke 1:34-35, 27-38 NIRV

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About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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