Christmas, the Holy Spirit and “Stuff”

The first mention of the Holy Spirit comes in the second verse of the Bible: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the deep” (Genesis 1:2). Here the Holy Spirit is involved in the creation of the cosmos, working in concert with God’s word (as He always does) to bring order out of disorder and create land and trees and animals and people. The first biblical reference to the Spirit has Him tightly involved with stuff. The first mention of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament also has Him involved creatively with stuff: “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). Luke elaborates on this, telling us that the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit, it seems, is always involved with stuff – making it, shaping it, animating it, conceiving it. He was involved in the creation. He conceived Jesus in the virgin’s womb. He raised Jesus bodily from the grave. He will breathe physical life in all His people at the general resurrection. Christmas teaches us that Christianity is not spitirual, that even the Holy Spirit is concerned primarily not with some ethereal “spirituality” but with the material “flesh and blood” stuff of human life.

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~ by puddleglum on December 29, 2005.

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