The angel answered, “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.”
A young woman who was a virgin was selected by God the Father to bear God the Son by the power of God the Holy Spirit at a specific moment in all of time for the sole purpose of reconciling sinful people to God thereby granting them life eternal with Him. Restoration to God’s original design. It is a wonderous gift that is presented to mankind and we believers reflect not only on our own new birth as sons and daughters of the Most-High God, but also on the continuing offer to those around us who have not yet received the gift of faith. Christmas is filled with wonder, not because of observable things, but because the Spirit who indwells the children of God quickens believers and pours out through them to the earthly society within which they live. A strange joy pervades.
While involved in operations during the Afghan conflict I was located at the NATO HQ in Kabul and by God’s design I also co-led a small but vibrant church whose members were from various NATO nations. At Christmas time, Nick, the lead chaplain, a British man who had found favour in the eyes of General Richards, Commander ISAF, asked our church to assist him in ministering to all of NATO HQ Kabul by conducting a Christmas Eve service. We responded to the request with a resounding unified yes and an explosion of excited joy. While we continued to perform our military duties, we were energized to concurrently and collectively work alongside Nick in preparing for the Christmas eve service. We worked, we prayed, we prepared for two weeks. The intensifying and profound excitement that we all experienced was as tangible as it was surprising to us. There we were in the midst of a conflict zone, involved in the conduct of military action against an aggressive opposing force yet we were joy-filled.
Romans 8:9 asserts that a Christian is not in the flesh, but rather in the Spirit. The indwelling Spirit works to develop within the believer Christ-like character, part of which is inexplicable joy. At a specific moment in time, God called together a disparate group of believers from various nations to work together and glorify His name in the midst of a conflict zone. The Christmas Eve service lasted only one hour. There were over 600 military personnel in attendance. The gospel was preached. The Lord was glorified. And our small entourage of disciples experienced God’s presence with absolute joy.
At the end of the service General Richards addressed the crowd, himself visibly emotive, and testified of the reality of Christ and of his gratitude for the opportunity to be reminded of that which is of utmost importance, while in the midst of the hard labour of military operations.
If you are child of God, you have been called to serve on His mission, no matter where you are or what you are engaged in. Christmas is a time of wide-spread quickening, opportunities to testify about Jesus and the salvation that is available only through Him abound. My prayer for you and for me is that like a sentry standing watch we will be alert to the opportunities that He leads us into and that we will respond without hesitation. Merry Christmas, Serve Well!