From Pastor's Desk

TRINITY IN THE CHRISTMAS STORY and BEYOND

The Trinity simply stated is about the three persons of the God head – the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. God is seen as the creator, the Son, the redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, as the sustainer. When one reads the birth narratives in both Matthew and Luke, we only seem to focus on the second person of the God head, which is God the Son. Matthew tells the birth story thru the eyes of Joseph and Luke thru the eyes of Mary. Both the gospels mention the birth of the Son with a slight difference.But John does something interesting in that he mentions the Father as the source of everything. This is what he says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. (John 1:1-3) This is it! Jesus is the embodiment of the Father. Jesus is God incarnate. In this reference by John the role of the first person of Trinity comes to the fore. 

What came as a surprise to me (maybe not for you) is the role of the Holy Spirit. We often associate the work of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts when God pours God’s spirit on the Day of Pentecost on all who were gathered in the Upper Room. But this is not the case.

I found the work of the Spirit to be so central to the birth stories especially in the gospel of Luke. In chapter one this is what Luke says about the child to be born to Elizabeth. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1: 14-15) John the Baptist will be filled with the Holy Spirit prior to his birth. God giving the Holy Spirit to John is not an afterthought. The Spirit is present in John as he grows and ministers.

Hear what the angel says to Joseph in the gospel of Matthew: “Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

This is what the angel had to say to Mary in Luke’s gospel: The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[d] will be holy; he will be called Son of God. The Holy Spirit is the prime mover in the conception of Jesus. 

Apart from all these references to the work of the Holy Spirit in the birth of Jesus, this is the one that really took me by surprise. It is the time when Jesus is brought to the Temple after he is born, probably on the 8th day for circumcision. Here, Jesus is being brought into the Temple and Simeon bursts into praise on seeing the Messiah. But see what Luke says, Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[f] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[g] came into the temple, (Luke 2:25-27). In a matter of 2 verses, the role of the Holy Spirit is mentioned three times. Holy Spirit rests, reveals and guides God’s people to do the extraordinary.

What I liked in this and the one that is relevant as we start the new year is the reference to Simeon being guided by the Spirit. This guiding is also known as the nudging of the Spirit. The time when you are prompted to go and visit someone or to pray for someone or to walk alongside someone is the work and nudging of the Holy Spirit. We cannot do this on our own by we are enabled to do this because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. So the next time when you are nudged to do something caring for someone don’t resist the work of the Spirit, just allow Him.

It is my prayer that we will be guided by the Holy Spirit as we enter the New Year. May the Third Person of the Trinity richly abide with you and your family as you journey through 2024.

Pastor Kamalesh

June 1, 2024

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