Bread – Spirits

December 22, 2014

Readings for Monday, December 22, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Isa. 11:1-9; Rev. 20:1-10; John 5:30-47; Psalms 61,62,112,115


Around this time of the year, we are inclined toward the consumption of many spirits. For example, there is eggnog laced with brandy. For football games, there is beer. For our Christian gatherings, there may be wine (for those of us so inclined).

We consume other spirits as well during this Holiday season. The biggest spirit is the spirit of panic as we see our shopping days diminish while the number of people on our gift list grows. But there is also the spirit of home and of family. For many, there is the spirit of loneliness and perhaps even sorrow. For others, there is the spirit of happiness and joy. Finally, there is the spirit of hopefulness.

But for Christians, the spirit which matters is the Holy Spirit and what He delivers to us. And what is this?

Part of the answer is in today’s reading from Isaiah, talking about what the Holy Spirit gives to the Savior, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. Isaiah says this: “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” Isa. 11:2-3.

This sequence of descriptions about the Holy Spirit is both a description about the Holy Spirit Himself and also, to my thinking, about the spirits which He conveys to us to help us in our daily walk with Christ. The Holy Spirit Himself is wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and fear of the Lord. The spirits which the Holy Spirit convey to those who trust in Jesus Christ are the spirits of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord.

Imagine for the moment that our lives were filled with wisdom, understanding, right counsel, power and might, knowledge, and righteous fear of the Lord. How victorious would we live if we always knew what to do, when to do it, how to do it, relied upon good recommendations from people who knew what to do, had the power and fortitude to truly deliver on our “yes’s” and “no’s,” and did everything in respect to and under the authority of God?

And yet we can, every day. The spirits of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, who Himself is a gift of God to those who believe in Christ.

There is something magic in the air around Christmas. But it is not the spirit of magic or even the spirit of crafty advertising and gift promotion. Instead, it is the spirit of hope – hope for life, hope for man, hope for freedom, hope for joy. It is God come to earth as a baby. It is the hope sprung from Christ’s incarnation. It is the hope tied to the holiday we now celebrate – Christmas.

But instead of celebrating the holiday, let’s instead celebrate that, through Christ’s power and our faith in Him, we too can receive the Holy Spirit and His gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord…and thereby be in position to give gifts to others – the real gifts of time, of attention, of the hope which is within us, of a reason for thanksgiving and joy, and, most of all, love.

Because at the end of the day, if we have a spirit of love, we are but reflecting the love we have first been given, exercising our relationship with the Holy Spirit to help us live life and it abundantly.

May your Christmas be blessed and full of the spirits of wisdom, wise counsel, power, knowledge, fear of the Lord, truth and … love. Amen.


© 2014 GBF


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