Editor’s note: FMS missioner Anna Metzger reflects on the ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us throughout the Christmas Season.
Walking around town during the Holiday season, we see many signs and hear countless cheerful remarks. When shopping in stores, you’ll read signs that say “O Holy Night,” “Santa is Coming to Town,” “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” “ ___ Days Until Christmas,” and more. Walking around town, our ears are ringing with the bells of Salvation Army workers collecting donations, and everywhere you turn you hear the wish of “Merry Christmas.” This time of year, no one is afraid. No one is afraid to say ”Merry Christmas” to one another; there is joy in the air and people seem to be a bit more kind to one another. Yet, why do we limit this to just one month out of the year? This could go on all year long, if we let it.
Now, I don’t mean that we ought to keep Christmas decorations up in our homes, but rather that we ought to keep the Spirit of Christmas ringing in our hearts all year. The spirit of Christmas, for some, is the idea of Santa Claus and gift giving. But for those who have the Lord in their hearts, the Spirit of Christmas is a bit more. Yes, Santa Claus and gift giving add celebration to the holiday season, but the Spirit of Christmas rings stronger and truer. The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of God… the Holy Spirit.
Leading up to Christmas, we aren’t afraid to speak. We speak to those waiting in line at the store with us, we speak to strangers to wish them a cheerful season, and we speak to those who are different than ourselves. When the Christmas season ends, some of us tend to go back inside our shells, and return to our busy self-centered schedules. We don’t like our schedules to be interrupted, and we keep our eyes and ears on what’s in front of us for the day. If we allow the Spirit of Christmas–the Holy Spirit–to reside in our hearts all year, this would not be the case.
The Holy Spirit prompts us to move, act and speak. As Catholics, we believe the Spirit “has spoken through the prophets” (Nicene Creed). This is because we know that “the Spirit will not speak on his own” (John 16:13). The Spirit won’t speak on his own because the Spirit speaks only when prompted by God the Father and Jesus the Son. The Spirit won’t speak on his own because he can’t. The Spirit doesn’t have his own voice; He has ours. Just as the Spirit has spoken through the prophets in the Bible, He speaks through us today.
The Spirit of Christmas speaks through us when we talk to those in the store and those passing us on the streets as we wish them “Merry Christmas.” The same Spirit speaks to us in our daily lives and He desires to speak through us all year long, for the mission of the Spirit is to unite us to Christ and help us live in Him (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 690). God’s greatest desire is to have and to hold His beloved children, and for His beloved children to be alive in Him. If we are alive in Christ, then we are alive in the Spirit. If we are alive in the Spirit, then we become a part of the Spirit’s mission. The Spirit’s mission is our mission. As believers, we are called to unite others to Christ and help others live in Him.
How do we unite others to Christ? We move, act and speak according to the Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit prompts us to speak to others during the Christmas season, He prompts us to speak to others during all seasons of the year. So, next time you wish someone a “Merry Christmas,” remember the true Spirit of Christmas. Allow that same Spirit to move in you long past the Christmas season, and let us join together in the mission of the Holy Spirit.