“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.” (Luke 1:35)
The birth of the baby Jesus and our spiritual birth have a common element. The source of both is the Holy Spirit.
The conception of Jesus in Mary was brought about by the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit is the source of our spiritual birth. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above. No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:3, 5)
Both Mary and Nicodemus asked the same question, “How can this be?” Both Gabriel and Jesus gave the same answer. It is by the Holy Spirit that these things happen. As Jesus was born through the power of the Holy Spirit, so too was the Church, and so too, are we.
Ever since I was a young boy growing up in a small town in Iowa, I have experienced a special feeling of God’s presence on Christmas Eve. It is a feeling of peace and love. A calm descends; the earth is quiet from all the hurrying and scurrying of Christmas preparations. It is the Holy Spirit.
When I was old enough to drive, I would often leave the house after our Christmas Eve traditions with family, and drive through the neighborhood of my former paper route. I knew every family on that route, more than a hundred. Some houses would be dark. Others would be full of lights with people inside celebrating the coming of the baby Jesus.
The words of the song Silent Night gently echoed: “Silent night, Holy night. All is calm, All is bright.”
As we move closer to the celebration of Christmas this year, let us remember the role of the Holy Spirit – the means by which the creator of all that exists became one of us through the Virgin Mary, and the means by which we can experience God’s presence and saving grace at this very moment.
Do you experience God’s presence through the Holy Spirit? If not, find a quiet place and invite him in?