FILLING UP CHRISTMAS: Fullness of Spirit    Galatians 4:4-7

Last week I opened up by saying one of my favorite things about Christmas is Christmas movies.  That is true.  One of my second favorite things about Christmas is the songs.  I love singing Christmas songs.  {Ryan asks congregation to share favorite songs with person next to them.}  One of my favorite Christmas songs this year is “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”  But there’s a song that’s not growing on me .  Every time this song comes on the radio, I think to myself, “I don’t know.  I’m not sure.”  The song is “Mary Did You Know?”  Before you hate me, here’s what’s going on in my head the entire song — SHE KNEW!  SHE KNEW!  Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?  She knew.  Mary, did you know that your baby boy has come to make you knew?  She knew.  Mary, did you know that this child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you?  Yes, she knew.  Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?  She knew.  Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?  She knew.  She knew.  I am lamenting this, in our kitchen, and Kelly says, “Well, did she know he’d walk on water?”  Okay, 75% of the song, she knew!  How do we know?

If you have your Bible, open to Luke 1:30-35, that’s where we’re going to start today.  Here’s the way we know that SHE KNEW.  It’s called the Annunciation.  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” {Isn’t it interesting that finding favor with God has the potential to lead us to fear?  Sometimes what God does in our life are things that we don’t quite expect and maybe didn’t chart out on our own, and every time we find favor with God, we either have the choice to operate in faith or fear.  That’s a side note.}  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”  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.

If you’re into art, you’ve probably seen a number of paintings that depict this scene, the Annunciation.  Typically, Mary is pictured as this fairly wealthy girl, who’s sitting and has her Bible open.  If you were to ask the artist what it’s open to, they would tell you Isaiah 7:14.  She’s reading the prophecy that’s being fulfilled in her — Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  The only problem with that is reality.  It’s probably not the way it happened.  In fact, this is one of my favorite paintings of the Annunciation.  It’s by a man named Henry Ossawa Tanner.  The thing I like about this picture of Mary is that she’s the simple, peasant, teenage girl that she probably actually was.  The house that she’s living in isn’t a palace.  If you could write down some adjectives that describe her face, you might write down things like a little bit anxious, but intent on hearing.  She’s surrendered, but there’s some questions, aren’t there?  I love this picture because it’s this simple moment that could have happened any day.  It could happen today.

Let’s take a step back from this story for just a moment and let’s ask what’s going on with this announcement.  Mary is stepping into a stream that’s been flowing.  God has been meeting with his people.  He meets with them in a tent.  Then he meets with them in a tabernacle.  Then he meets with them in a temple.  The tent, the tabernacle, and the temple are all pictures of places where the things of heaven and the things of earth come to this interlocking space.  Where heaven starts to invade earth.  They’re little hubs where heaven invades earth.  I think what we see in Mary is that she’s stepping into this place, this place that the tabernacle and the temple filled, where God’s presence was manifest in unique ways.  The nation of Israel would go there to meet with God.  Mary’s playing that part for the nation of Israel.  In a sense, she’s the Ark of the Covenant.  God is there.  God is IN her, literally.

Here’s my question and it might sound strange.  If I didn’t offend you at the beginning, I will offend you now.  How unique is Mary?  I mean, really.  How unique is Mary?  Sure, she’s the blessed mother.  She’s the only virgin to give birth.  I get that, and in a lot of ways, she’s unique.  But how unique is she in carrying the Christ?  That’s a great question.  Will you flip over with me to Galatians 4?  That’s where we’re camping out during this Advent season.  Where we’re journeying towards the manger.  Remember, Advent is about in between.  It’s about waiting.  It’s about looking back to the birth of Messiah, Jesus, and looking forward to the time he says he will come again to restore and renew.  We live in this now, but not yet in between.  We call it life.  Church calendar calls it Advent.

Listen to the way the Apostle Paul invites us to dwell on this season.  But when the fullness of time had come, {“The fullness of time had come” meant that there was a lot of time that wasn’t full.  There was a lot of time where there was a promise that had been given, but hadn’t been delivered on, hadn’t been fulfilled yet. So we remembered (Week 1 of the series) that the promise was often a process with God.  He doesn’t usually deliver right away when he makes a promise.  He does something in our life in the carrying us along in the waiting.}  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.  If you were here last week, we talked about this idea that God became a child that we might become children of God. Christmas is about adoption.  It’s about God calling us into his family.  Paul continues to gospel us and says this….} And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”    The first two statements are sort of in line with what we might expect or hope for, but the third statement is an anomaly.  God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.

I’m not sure if you’re having company this Christmas.  I don’t know if you’re going to host anybody or have anybody over.  Whether or not you’re having company this Christmas, if you’re a follower of Jesus, you already have company!  Because here’s the picture the Scriptures are painting.  What was true physically of Mary, carrying the Christ child in her womb, is true EVERY follower of Jesus, spiritually, we carry his Spirit in our heart.  So the Apostle John will say that Jesus the Christ took on flesh and, as Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in “The Message,” moved into the neighborhood.  Paul will go yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.  He moved into the neighborhood ultimately so that He would move into your hearts.  That was the end game, that was the hope.  We’ll say it like this this morning:  God came to dwell among us so that he could ultimately dwell within us.

So how unique is Mary?  Well, it’s real interesting. If we go back to Luke’s gospel and we read this account of the annunciation, the angel announcing Mary, you’re pregnant, the Holy Spirit’s the father, and you’re going to give birth to the Son, listen to the language Luke uses.  Luke 1:35 — 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.   This is about the incarnation.  But if you fast forward to Luke’s documenting of the life of Jesus through the early church in the book of Acts, listen to what he says.  It’s very similar language talking to the church (Acts 1:8) — But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,  {Every first century reader would have been going whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!  Luke, do you realize that what you’re telling us is going to happen in the Holy Spirit, you’ve already said has happened in Mary?  And Luke would go that’s exactly what I’m doing.}  and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.    It’s as though he says, “And in the same way that Mary gave birth to the Christ child, so too will the church give birth to the person of Christ and the rule of Christ and the reign of Christ and the kingdom of Christ in the world.”

Mary’s not just a peasant, teenage girl who happens to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, she is that, but she’s also an archetype.  She’s a picture of what you and I now carry.  The tent was replaced by the tabernacle, and the tabernacle replaced by the temple; these are all interlocking places where heaven and earth meet.  Eventually the temple’s replaced by Mary and then Mary is replaced by……..well, all of us!  Paul will write it like this in 1 Corinthians 6:19 — Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.  You and I are temples.  We’re places where the Spirit of God overlaps with his creation in humanity where God’s manifest presence dwells.  The intersection of heaven and earth is YOU!  Will you let that sink in for a second?  I don’t want to rush right by that—I’ve got a lot to cover—but maybe we just dwell on that for a second. The intersection of heaven and earth is you, if you’re a follower of Jesus.  The Spirit lives in you.

A lot of Jesus-followers sort of wrestle with the Holy Spirit.  You may have grown up in a tradition, like me, where we didn’t talk about the Spirit a whole lot.  He was sort of like the weird uncle that you wanted to keep out of the gathering.  Right?  Let’s just keep him at arm’s length, let’s keep him at a distance.  Maybe you’re new at being a follower of Jesus, or spirituality in any sense, so you’re going, I’m not sure….Spirit?  That seems a little ethereal.  How does that impact our daily life?  To you I’d say, one, I’m glad you’re here, but second, we all have a conscience.  We all have something innate inside of us that senses a right and a wrong, that seeks to guide, and for followers of Jesus, we’d say that the Spirit is similar.  But then there’s some of us, when you start to talk about the Spirit…..I’ve got my oil in my back pocket, I’ve got some snakes I’d like us to tame, some scorpions that maybe we can subdue.  And you think of charis-mullets and gold and barking in the Spirit and whatever.

What is the Spirit?  Let me give you a quick definition.  The Spirit is God’s empowering presence.  The Holy Spirit is God’s empowering presence. (Gordon Fee)  Jesus thought so highly of the Spirit {catch this} and the Spirit’s work in us that he said to his disciples as he’s marching toward Jerusalem, as he’s getting ready to go to the cross (John 16:7) — Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper (Holy Spirit) will not come to you.  But if I go, I will send him to you.  Now, has Jesus gone? Yes. Therefore the Spirit has come.  I think what Jesus is saying is Christmas is great, but Pentecost is better. Incarnation is mind-bending; to think about God clothed in human skin, fully God, fully man.  That is a remarkable mystery we will probably never fully wrap our hearts and our minds around.  Jesus would say yeah, incarnation is mind-bending, it’s amazing, but INDWELLING……don’t miss that.  Most religious people, even people who follow the way of Jesus, still imagine that God is somewhere else.  Even the way we talk about coming to church, we often imagine….well, God’s here.  As if, like, He’s in this place.  He is.  {Look up at me a second.}  Because YOU’RE here.  You carry the presence of God with you, everywhere you go.  Is God at your workplace?  If you’re there.  Is He in your family?  Absolutely.  What we celebrate at Christmas is that God is not somewhere else, but He has decided to make his home IN us.  He came to dwell among us so that He would eventually, ultimately dwell within us.

I’m going to encourage you to lean in just a little bit today, because I have this conviction that no transformation in our life will really truly happen and really truly take place until we realize that the divine actually lives in us and not somewhere else.  We’ve got to learn how to have relationship with God who lives in us.  Paul would say this is the “hope of glory” that the Spirit actually makes his home in us.  A lot of what Paul does in the book of Galatians in regards to the Spirit is he corrects some teaching that has gone awry and gone astray.  He corrects some lies that the Galatian church has somehow come to believe about Spirit and about the work of the Spirit.  Here’s what I want to do—I want to give us sort of a gentle corrective today and then I want to lead us on a course forward.  Does that sound good?

Ultimately, carrying the Christ child changed everything for Mary and I wonder what it’s changed for us.  Remember, what Mary carries physically in her womb, we carry spiritually in our hearts.  Flip back one chapter to Galatians 3:10-14.  Paul’s going to start what we’d say is a holy, justified rant against the Galatian church.  He’s just called the church fools, in the name of Jesus and in the love of Jesus, and he’s talking to them about circumcision and how if you want to circumcise yourself in order to make yourself right with God, why don’t you just cut the whole thing off and call it good, right?  Here’s where he goes from there.  For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse;  {He’s going to say there’s really two courses that you can take with God, whether you’re spiritual or unspiritual, religious or unreligious.  There’s two ways you can approach God.  You can try to approach God based on what you do, and the Jews had a way of doing that, it was called the law.  The better they performed, the more God loved them, the more that they reflected His image, and the more of God they had.  Here was the thought of people under the law: if I perform well, I get more of the Spirit.}  for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”  {He goes, here’s the problem with the Law.  The Law isn’t bad in and of itself, you just can’t keep it.  In order to really be right with God, you’ve got to do the whole Law, all the time, all of it, all the time.  Anyone want to go, stuck that dismount?  Me neither.}  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, {He just did that same survey with the Galatian church and went, no hands in the air, hmmm, that puts us in a little bit of a predicament.}  But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law {The curse of getting right with God based on what you do.}  by becoming a curse for us {He steps into that system and fulfills it perfectly. —for it is written, “Curse is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham  {The blessing that you just receive, open-handedly.  Not because you’re amazing and you’re awesome, but because God says I want to bless you.  Blessing of Abraham.  The blessing of life and faith.} might come to the Gentiles, so that we might received the promised Spirit through faith.

Paul wants to shift their thinking from if I perform well enough and if I do enough, then I receive the Spirit to no, no, no, no, no, you receive the Spirit and the Spirit empowers you to move forward.  The Spirit is not the goal of the Christian life.  The Spirit is the source of the Christian life.  These are two very different things and Paul is beating this drum.  Spirit isn’t something you earn, it’s someone you receive.  We don’t obey FOR the Spirit, our obedience comes FROM the Spirit.  {Just lean in for a moment.}  Isn’t this the Christmas story?  The God of the universe, for some reason, chooses to be born into a cave in a back alley rather than into a palace.  That He chooses a poor peasant Jewish girl rather than a queen with some standing.  I love the Christmas story, I love this picture of the way that Jesus was born in a rented manger.  Because when I look at my own soul and insides, sometimes it’s in okay shape and a lot of times it’s just a total mess.  I’m grateful that God enters places that we wouldn’t expect Him.  {Anyone want to say Amen to that?}  The Spirit enters, the Spirit comes.  I want you to hear this—We are that Mary, we are that cave.  If you’re a follower of Jesus, this morning, You. Have. The Spirit of God. In. You.  You do.

Here’s the way Paul continues, because he wants to clarify.  He goes no, no, no, no, no, you don’t earn the Spirit, you receive the Spirit.  Flip over to Galatians 5:16-18.  He wants to say once you receive the Spirit, what starts to happen?  What does this look like?  What type of life do we then live?  And it might be unexpected.  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,  {You have these two things in opposition.  The Broncos are against the Browns.}  and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.   That system of if I’m right with God then I receive His Spirit.  You’re not under that system anymore.

But notice what the Apostle Paul does.  He speaks into something we maybe get wrong in our minds. You may have heard a gospel presentation at some point and a well-meaning person, that maybe you really deeply loved, said, “If you become a Christian, your life’s going to get way easier.”  It’s going to be amazing.  It’s going to be so wonderful, your best life now.  Paul would say, “Hmmm, I’m not so sure.”  The Spirit that now lives inside of you is opposed, is against, some of those patterns and rhythms of your soul that you’ve grown so accustomed to that they feel so natural.  So growing bitter when someone wrongs you and holding onto that and the way that feels good…..the Spirit’s going to start to point out that there’s a better way, let that go.  Harboring anger toward your enemies….Spirit’s going to start to say actually, the way is love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  That lust that tends to make you feel good momentarily….Spirit’s going to say actually, let that go and move into the ways and the rhythms of love.  Becoming a follower of Jesus will initially make things way more difficult.  That’s what Paul’s saying.  But just because it’s more difficult doesn’t mean it’s not better.  Let’s not get so involved in our cultural milieu that says automatically ‘easy’ is good, that we don’t step back enough to realize that some things in life that are worth fighting for are a fight.  Paul would say the health of your soul is just that and the Spirit’s charting a new course.

The Spirit isn’t something that gives automatic victory, the Spirit is someone who empowers us for battle.  The picture of being a follower of Jesus and being indwelt by the Spirit might be akin to stepping onto a battleship rather than a cruise ship.  Stepping on a cruise ship (I’ve heard) — it’s food, it’s entertainment, it’s luxury, it’s all-around good!  It’s great!  Paul would say no, no, no, the Spirit in you doesn’t load you onto a cruise ship where everything is just great all the time, it’s actually loading you onto a battleship, where you have everything you need in order to be victorious, but we’re engaging, we’re fighting for the health of our soul.  Paul would say it like this in Galatians 6:8 — For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  He’s going listen, we’re all pouring our energy and our time either into Spirit or into flesh.  Either into the presence and person of God in us….we’re cultivating that.   OR, we’re just going along with what we naturally want in and of ourselves.

I’m convinced that most followers of Jesus don’t know that the Spirit of God actually wants to empower you rather than just automatically dispense victory to you.  God says I want to teach you, I want YOU to step into this, empowered by Me.  So we combat lies through renewing our mind with truth.  We step into spiritual practices to reform habits that have gotten their tentacles into us, empowered by the Spirit.  Spiritual disciplines and the Spirit’s indwelling are not at odds with each other.  The Spirit loves to take spiritual discipline and infuse them with life.  I hope it’s what you’ve been experiencing as you’ve practiced Fixed Hour of Prayer over the last few weeks, that as we position our hearts to hear from God, we hear from God.  As we remember God in the midst of our day that that remembering actually brings life.

Here’s the way Paul continues (Galatians 5:19-25):  Now the works of the flesh are evident: {I think if he were writing this today, he’s go you could just open your news app and see these everywhere.)  sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.  I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  {Just a quick timeout, I need to help us unload a little bit of baggage then I’ll move on.  When we read ‘they will not inherit the kingdom of God,’ a lot of us here mistake that for ‘these kind of people don’t go to heaven.’  Which isn’t at all what Paul is saying.  Paul is saying the kingdom of God is present.  It’s a way that they live in the every day under the rule and reign of Jesus.  Paul wants to say that it’s impossible to live under the reign of Jesus, if you want to hold onto your sorcery, your enmity, your jealousy, your anger, your rivalries, your dissensions.  He says you can’t hold onto the way of Jesus AND hold onto those things.  Spirit wants better.}  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  

There’s four commands in this section.  Walk in the Spirit.  Be led by the Spirit.  Live by the Spirit.  Keep in step with the Spirit.  What’s fascinating is that one of the commands in this passage is NOT bear fruit.  It’s not.  You can’t try to bear fruit anyway, which should be great news for us.  The Bible actually makes sense.  We don’t try to bear fruit.  It’s what naturally comes out of us based on what path we’re walking.  Are we walking in flesh or are we walking in Spirit?   He says just look.  If you find yourself walking in flesh, come back to Spirit, because he’s way better and he actually wants your life.  Walking in the Spirit is God having power over us and empowering us, but the Spirit isn’t something that controls us, like we automatically lose our brain.  The Spirit is Someone who leads us.  Walk.  Stay in step.  Live by.  Be led.

Jesus will say in John 16:13 that the Spirit is like a guide.  You’ve got to be careful, because sometimes we can view a guide as sort of like a cattle driver, where a guide is behind cattle and he’s just beating them into submission.  Go this way!  Do this thing!  Come on, let’s go.  But the way Scriptures picture Spirit as a guide is not as a cattle driver but as a shepherd, who gently, sometimes quietly, sometimes firmly, comes to his sheep and says no, no, no, there’s green pastures and there’s still waters and I want to take you there.  In order to be led by the Spirit, we must have this declaration back to God — Jesus is Lord. You rule. You reign. Your smarter than me, so whenever you say something to me my answer is yes before I know what the question is.

The Spirit guides us like a shepherd, not like a cattle driver.  The Spirit guides us through our cultivated conscious awareness.  Cultivated—meaning it may not come naturally to us.  We’ve got to train ourselves to actually hear God.  Conscious meaning it’s not something that happens necessarily while we’re checked out, but while we’re dialed in.  God, this is what you’re doing.  This is the way of Jesus.  My mind is surrendered to you, it’s not checked out.  Awareness—God, you’re up to something. God, you’re doing something.  It’s why the Apostle Paul will say in Colossians 3:2 — Set your minds on things that are above… don’t check your mind out.  Set it!  This is actual, intentional participation with the work of the Spirit in our life, you guys, and it’s the way of Jesus.

I love the way—this might surprise you—that Dallas Willard says this.  It’s a long quote but I think it’s real important, so I’m going to ask you to lean in.  “The first and most basic thing we can and must do is to keep God before our minds.  This is the fundamental secret of caring for our souls.  Our part in thus practicing the presence of God is to direct and redirect our minds constantly to Him.  In the early time of our “practicing” we may well be challenged by our burdensome habits of dwelling on things less than God.  But these are habits—not the law of gravity—and can be broken.  A new, grace-filled habit will replace the former ones as we take intentional steps toward keeping God before us.  Soon our minds will return to God as the needle of a compass constantly returns to north.  If God is the great longing of our souls, He will become the pole star of our inward beings.”  Dallas Willard for the win!  Oh yeah!!

He’s a shepherd, not a cattle driver.  This is conscious awareness, not checking out.  Finally, he guides us through conviction, not condemnation.  In John 16:8-11, Jesus says that part of the Spirit’s role is conviction.  So we expect that the Spirit will point out when things in our life are off.  Any loving parent would do the same.  But when the Spirit convicts it’s different than when the enemy convicts.  When the enemy convicts, he wants to bring death, when the Spirit convicts, He wants to bring life.  So it sounds different.  Conviction by the Spirit leads to repentance.  Condemnation by the enemy leads to guilt.  They’re both maybe talking about the same event, but coming at in very different ways.   One wants to lead you to self-sulking and shame, the other wants to lead you to repentance and shedding and life. {Can I get an Amen?} That’s really, really good news, and it’s so important because those things can sound so similar.  The voice of condemnation always says you’re a loser and you’ll never be any good.  The voice of Spirit always says you are loved, come home to the place of love.  We have a good God, don’t we?  We’ve just got to learn how to listen to him.

So how unique is Mary?  She’s pretty unique, but she’s also an archetype.  What she carries in her womb physically, you carry in your hearts spiritually.  He came to dwell among us so that he would ultimately dwell within us.  You may be sitting here today and this is your disposition—maybe there’s a little bit of anxiety….God, I don’t know what it means that you live inside of me?  Or maybe there’s some questions:  God, what do I do with this declaration that the Spirit lives in me?  Those are great questions.  I want to encourage us.  Maybe we respond like Mary.  Have you ever read her response?  She’s like, God, I don’t get how a virgin can be pregnant with a child, but let it be as you have said.  Before the Beatles ever coined that phrase, that was Mary’s.  Let it be.   Do you want to fill up Christmas this year?  Here’s how:  God, if you say that Your Spirit lives in me, I’m going to trust you.  And I may even step out a little bit differently into that this season.  I may start to EXPECT that you’re going to show up.

Second, I love the way that Mary ponders these things in her heart, Luke says.  It’s like she just keeps thinking about it.  God, you are present in me physically.  You’re coming to redeem.  You’re coming to save.  Mary, did you know?  She knew.  He’s entering into the world.  Mary’s Magnificat is her expression of joy.  My hope for you this Christmas season is that the Spirit might fill you with joy.  I love that passage that we prayed earlier:  May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace and believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Did you know that one of the things the Holy Spirit loves to do is to pour out the love of God into your heart?  Are you open to that this year?

Finally, and this may be difficult if you don’t have a womb, I want to encourage you to fill up Christmas by giving birth.  In the same way that Mary carries the Christ child and delivers him into the world, so too, we carry the Spirit of Christ and we get this beautiful opportunity to deliver Him into the world.  Wherever people are filled with the Spirit, they speak on Jesus.  John the Baptist, being filled with the Spirit, proclaims the coming of the Christ. (Luke 1:15)  Elizabeth, filled with the Spirit, proclaims the blessing of God over Mary. (Luke 1:41)  Zechariah, filled with the Spirit, prophesies about the coming of Jesus. (Luke 1:47)  So maybe you, filled with the Spirit during this Christmas Advent season, would start speaking of Him, pointing people to Him.  Maybe you, this Christmas season, might give birth.  Maybe you could do it easily by grabbing a card on the way out and invite someone to come with you to Christmas Eve service.  I hope you do.

Born Thy people to deliver // Born a child and yet a King // Born to reign in us forever // Now Thy gracious kingdom bring. // By Thine own eternal Spirit // Rule in all our hearts alone // By Thine all sufficient merit // Raise us to Thy glorious throne.