Over the Christmas season many of you will be entertained by the Nativity story being played out in schools and churches, the performances will vary in content and quality. Yet God willing, at the end of each performance there will be a moment of stillness where a tableau of the Holy family and all the characters of the story are together in one frozen picture. This, of course, is the wonderful heart melting AWWW! moment where each and every heart is touched by a mysterious emotion, this emotion is beyond words and any earthly description. I like to call it ‘hope’!
And then of course we are drawn back to a reality that Christmas in the real world can be a much starker event that is more about endurance and surviving the family rather than peaceful Holy nights.
In order that the wonderful AWWW! feeling of Hope stays with us throughout the Christmas season and beyond, God has given his Holy Spirit, and in his letter to the church in Galatia, the apostle Paul has very kindly offered an explanation to how the Holy Spirit works within us, by giving names to nine identifying roles of the Spirit and calling them fruits. The Fruits of the spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self-Control.
You may well have heard of this piece of scripture and you may even possibly be able to quote them in order. But have you ever thought that this profound list may be able to keep hope alive in your Christmas?
The fruits of the spirit are a spiritual multi tool that can fix any family/church breakdown’s, but like any multi-tool you have to have it with you at all times, because you may never know when it may be needed.
Let’s look at what each spiritual segment can offer our Christmas.
Love. Hope needs love to exist Try and keep the AWWW! moment going.
Joy. Hope needs Joy to breathe
Peace. Hope needs Peace to move
Patience. Hope needs Patience to endure
Kindness. Hope needs Kindness to grow
Goodness. Hope needs Goodness to mature
Gentleness. Hope needs Gentleness to comfort
Faithfulness. Hope needs Faithfulness to fulfil promises
Self-Control. Hope needs Self –Control to overcome.
All we need for a healthy spirit filled Christmas is all here. Our daily prayer needs to be empowered with these gifts. This will ensure Hope and the AWWW! moments continue in our lives every day and are not just known and experienced once a year in a frozen tableau scene.
May each and every one of us be blessed this Christmas with all the fruits of the Spirit. ‘And to Him who is able to keep from falling and present us unstained at His glorious throne, to Jesus our Saviour be glory and majesty honour and power to Jesus alone’.
May God grant us all a hope filled Christ-mas and a Spirit empowered New Year.