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Thursday, January 10, 2008

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1 John 4:19—5:4
Psalm 72
Luke 4:14-22

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christmas in the spirit

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; therefore He has anointed Me." —Luke 4:18

We have four more days in the Christmas season. If we have the true Christmas Spirit Who is the Holy Spirit, we are bringing the good news of Jesus to the poor (Lk 4:18). That was the original meaning of giving Christmas cards. In the Christmas Spirit, we are proclaiming liberty to captives (Lk 4:18). Christmas should not be a time of enslaving, compulsive behavior and indulgence but the beginning of a year of life and freedom in Jesus. "Remember that you have been called to live in freedom — but not a freedom that gives free rein to the flesh" (Gal 5:13).

If Christ is having His way this Christmas, we are opening the eyes of the blind both physically and spiritually (Lk 4:18). We have let the Lord enlighten our innermost vision (Eph 1:18), and we can see more clearly and completely His plan of salvation and our part in it during 2008. If we have the true Christmas Spirit, we are releasing prisoners by calling ourselves and others to repent and break out of the prison of sin (Lk 4:18). We are calling people to total commitment to Jesus, for if we let Jesus set us free we are free indeed (Jn 8:36).

This freeing of ourselves and others is what it means to celebrate Christmas. A Christmas in the Holy Spirit is not an escape from reality but the restoration of reality into the image and likeness of the Christ of Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, give me Christmas by Your standards.

Promise:  "Everyone begotten of God conquers the world, and the power that has conquered the world is this faith of ours." —1 Jn 5:4

Praise:  Robert had his eyes opened and, through the power of Jesus, is now celebrating a twentieth Christmas in sobriety.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Living in Reality, or our four-tape audio series starting with AV 38-1 or two-tape video series starting with V-38.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 30, 2007

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