In his legendary song, “The Spirit of Christmas,” Ray Charles asks a question about Christmas spirit: “Why can’t it remain all through the year?”
Perhaps you’ve wondered the same thing while celebrating with family and friends, or just enjoying a quiet evening by your living room fireplace, your Christmas tree sparkling over there in the corner.
I think the Book of Acts says that it can, and shows us how.
In 1:8, Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The Spirit is then poured out upon the church on the day of Pentecost, with the result that they were proclaiming the mighty works of God to a crowd of various nationalities, and each heard in their own language (2:11). Peter then preached message of the gospel, it went straight to their heart, and they repented and believed and were baptized (2:37-41).
During that sermon, Peter explained how the Holy Spirit fit into what was happening. Jesus was “exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing” (2:33).
So, Jesus—Immanuel, God with us—poured the Holy Spirit out upon the church, so that we have God with us in our very heart. The spirit of Christmas isn’t an it, it’s a He—it’s the Holy Spirit. We have that Spirit throughout the year, and forever.
But what does it look like for us to have this Spirit all year long? Well, according to the Book of Acts, it looks like empowered gospel witness to the ends of the earth. The Spirit of Christmas enables us to tell the Story of Christmas so that those who have never believed might hear and put their faith in Jesus, and then truly celebrate Christmas for the first time.
You might not travel to the ends of the earth in 2020, but you can go to the ends of your street. You can go to the ends of your dorm. You can go to the ends of your office building where you work.
As we see the gospel go out to the world in power, we can even sing along with Ray throughout the year, “It’s truly amazin’, that Spirit of Christmas.”