I recently read that there is a missing participant from the Christmas story ordinarily told during Advent. The pageants, creches, Christmas cards, carols, hymns, and live Christmas scenes portray an array of characters or participants: baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, innkeeper, Magi, King Herod, shepherds, angels, the star, and–oh yes–the animals.
So, what or who could be missing?
In Matthew 1:18: “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” In Luke 1, an angel appeared to Mary to inform her that she would be the mother of Jesus. In Luke 1:34-35, Mary asked the angel: “How will this be…since I am a virgin? The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on 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.”
Through some type of preternatural union between Mary and the Holy Spirit, Mary became pregnant, and the Son of God was born. But where is the Holy Spirit in all the sources used at Christmas to remind us of the birth of the Christ child?
When the account of the birth of Jesus is read during a play or simply as part of a church service, we hear about the Holy Spirit from the readings from Matthew and Luke, but in the pageants, etc., the Holy Spirit doesn’t appear with the other participants.
There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as we don’t forget the Holy Spirit’s mysterious and magnificent role in the birth of our Savior. Before the birth of Jesus came the birth of Jesus’s cousin, John The Baptist. We are told that immediately after John’s birth, “his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.” (Luke 1:67) Could it be so with us during this season?