Perry Duggar |
The Spirit of Christmas was responsible for the first Christmas EVENT—the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem—and for each of us EXPERIENCING CHRISTMAS through new birth today!
The Spirit of Christmas
Experiencing Christmas – Message 4
December 24, 2020
I. Our Christmas series of messages is entitled Experiencing Christmas.
A. We focused on spiritual and emotional changes that result from Jesus’ arrival in our lives.
- After we are born again, we receive love, joy and peace (the first three messages in this series) but also hope (which we will learn about next Sunday).
- Today, Christmas Eve, we want to think about the Spirit of Christmas.
- I am not referring to happy gatherings of cheerful friends and festive family members to share refreshments and exchange gifts in a gracious atmosphere of warm affection, laughter, and thoughtful generosity (all good and enjoyable).
- The Spirit of Christmas I’m speaking of is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, without whom there could have been no Christmas event, the first Christmas couldn’t have happened—and we would have no way to experience it!
- The Spirit inspired prophecy predicting that a virgin would conceive and give birth to the Messiah named Immanuel (meaning “God is with us”) (Isaiah 7:14), which was fulfilled when Mary became pregnant through the Spirit’s power (Matthew 1:18, 20).
- The Spirit also provided the one who would prepare the way for Jesus by enabling Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother to become pregnant at an advanced age, by filling John with the Spirit even before birth so he could go ahead of Jesus and ready the people for His arrival. (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 1:13-17,76).
- John’s parents were both filled by the Spirit and spoke about Jesus. (Luke 1:41,67-79)
- The Spirit told elderly Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the promised Messiah, then led him to Mary, Joseph and Jesus at the temple, and inspired Simeon to prophesy concerning Jesus and Mary (Luke 2:25–35).
- The Spirit inspired the prophecy that brought magi to Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1–6).
- APP. Have you been filled, led, inspired by the Spirit?
B. During our Experiencing Christmas series, we thought about three characteristics we receive from the Spirit: love, joy and peace. (Fruit of the Spirit; Galatians 5:22).
- These characteristics, or states of being, are produced by the Spirit, not human effort.
- They grow more constant, resilient and enduring as we live and walk in the Spirit daily.
- To experience these wonderful spiritual Christmas blessings, we first believe in the Christmas event: that Jesus, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem to a virgin named Mary, so He could live a sinless life, then die for our sins, so we could be forgiven.
- But knowing and accepting this supernatural story as historical fact doesn’t save us.
- We must be born again by the Spirit by trusting in Jesus to forgive our sins.
- That’s the Christmas experience! John 3:6 (NLT)—“Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit [the Spirit of Christmas] gives birth to spiritual life.”
- The Christmas event happened but once, at Bethlehem, when Jesus Christ was born into this world, but the Christmas experience is repeated every time someone calls on Jesus for salvation—and is born again!
- APP.: Have you had this experience by hearing and believing the Good News?
- Christmas is a perfect time to share the story of Jesus with children/grandchildren.
- We created a guide to use with your family. (Leigh Ann and I used it. SHOW VIDEO.)
- Pick up a guide as you leave, watch our full video with family, download the guide at brookwoodchurch.org/christmas. Use this opportunity to tell about Jesus.
- Lighting candles represents sharing the Good News about the Christmas child.
B. Candle lighting – The light symbolizes illumination of the Spirit to the truth about Jesus.
- At the birth of his son John, Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
Luke 1:78-79 (NLT)—78 “Because of God’s tender mercy, the Morning Light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
- At Luke 2:30 (NLT), Simeon, took new-born Jesus in his arms and, inspired by the Spirit, said, 30 I have seen Your salvation, 31 which You have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of Your people Israel!”
- If you have believed and been born again, the Spirit’s light has been ignited in you.
- 1 Peter 2:9 (CEV)—But you are God’s chosen and special people. …God has brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things that He has done. [Share your faith story—tell what you have experienced with Jesus!]
- Matthew 5:14–16 (NLT)—14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. [Don’t conceal your faith; let it show!] 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
- Ephesians 5:8 (NLT)—For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
- Song: Silent Night
- Blow out (and throw away) the light in your hand, but continue to live as people of light!
- Counselors are here to talk and pray with you! They will anoint with oil as well.
Please leave through the side doors.
May you have a Merry and a Spirit-filled Christmas!