Advent Devotional: The Gift of the Spirit

A teacher was hired by a large hospital to tutor school aged children who were in the hospital for an extended stay.  She would talk to their teachers and then go by their rooms to help with work. One day she visited a boy who had been terribly burned.  His appearance was so shocking that she almost backed out of the room. But she introduced herself and said, “I’m a school teacher who works for hospital.  Your teacher has asked me to help you with some school work.”

A few days later she was on the same hall and a nurse stopped her and asked, “What did you say to that boy?  He was so despondent before.  But from the day you visited he’s been fighting back. He’s responding to treatment.”  The teacher said, “I didn’t say anything.”  The two of them went in the room together, and the nurse gently asked what had made the boy more cheerful. He teared up and said, “I figured they wouldn’t send a teacher to help me with math if I was dying, would they?”  What was different after the teacher’s visit? The boy who had been hopeless was now filled with hope. He had received a great gift from a simple message spoken by a stranger.

In Acts 2, we read that following His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His apostles, and over the course of the next forty days, He spoke to them about the kingdom of God.  Once, when He was eating with them, He commanded them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the gift the Father promised. This reminds us of the words of the angel Gabriel when he spoke to Mary in Luke 1.  Both the book of Luke and the book of Acts begin with the Holy Spirit moving in the world to bring about something new – in Luke, the birth of the Messiah, and in Acts, the birth of the church and its witness.

And it’s the same way with us.  The Holy Spirit brings about something new in us; changing us into the person we want to be; helping us be more and more like Christ.   Here are some ways we can allow ourselves to be more and more filled with the Holy Spirit:

  • Invite the Spirit to take control of our lives by continually asking the Spirit to lead us, to guide us, and to help us do the things God wants us to do.
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to comfort us when we are hurting.  Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will bring us peace.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the things that God wants to change.  Not only will the Spirit work to make us aware of sin, He will fill us with the power to stop sinning.
  • Trust that the Spirit helps us when we don’t know what to pray for.  Maybe the pain is too deep, the burden unbearable, the fear too great, the confusion too difficult.  Whatever it is, we can be confident that the Spirit himself will intercede for us. He will bring our needs before the Father in words that we cannot express.

Let us always remember that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God, that He lives with us forever, and that He will never leave us or forsake us.  These are reasons to have great joy and comfort. Thank God for this precious gift of the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives!

You are loved!