Gunner and his Christmas family
“…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).”
Sometimes when the holidays end we experience a bit of an emotional downer; that rosy carol-infested time of yuletide bliss gives way to just a cold and dreary January. Well, there’s a way to keep that same holiday hope permanently, as when Scrooge’s nephew Fred says it to be,
“…a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
Or as Scrooge puts it so succinctly after his spirited conversion,
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”
Without the Person of Christmas, in our heart, our hearts are shut up tight. Keeping Christmas, maintaining that joy of the Incarnation of Bethlehem, means inviting Him into your heart…permanently.
As Paul says, in Romans 5:5, in order to have that “hope that does not disappoint,” God’s love must enter your heart in the gift of “the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” That’s what Jesus meant when He said that we must be born again in John 3:3,
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Everyone is born physically, when your mom’s water breaks. That is the first birth, by water. The second is what Scrooge experienced, a spiritual change of heart where you are born a second time by the Holy Spirit entering your heart.
The key to keeping Christmas all the year is in having Jesus inside of your body, literally inside of you, in the form of the Holy Spirit. That’s what makes you a Christian…when you open your shut-up heart to the Holy Spirit to come inside of you. It’s also what makes Christmas a daily celebration all year.