Transformation by the Holy Spirit

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free…” Luke 1:67–68

Our story of the birth of Saint John the Baptist concludes today with the song of praise spoken by Zechariah after his tongue had been loosened on account of his transformation in faith. He had moved from doubting what the Archangel Gabriel had spoken to him to believing and following the command of the Archangel to name his firstborn son “John.” As we saw in yesterday’s reflection, Zechariah is a model and example for those who have lacked faith, have suffered the consequences of their lack of faith, and have changed as a result.

Today, we see an even fuller illustration of what happens when we change. No matter how deeply we have doubted in the past, no matter how far we have turned from God, when we turn back to Him with all our heart, we can hope to experience the same thing experienced by Zechariah. First, we see that Zechariah is “filled with the Holy Spirit.” And as a result of this gift of the Holy Spirit, Zechariah “prophesied.” These two revelations are very significant.

As we prepare for the celebration of the Birth of Christ tomorrow on Christmas Day, we are also called to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” so that we also can act as a prophetic messenger of the Lord. Though Christmas is all about the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, Christ Jesus our Lord, the Holy Spirit (the Third Person of the Holy Trinity) plays just as much of a significant role in the glorious event, both at that time and also today. Recall that it was by the Holy Spirit Who overshadowed Mother Mary that she conceived the Christ Child. In today’s Gospel, it was the Holy Spirit Who enabled Zechariah to proclaim the greatness of God’s act of sending John the Baptist ahead of Jesus to prepare the way for Him. Today, it must be the Holy Spirit Who fills our lives so as to enable us to proclaim the Christmas Truth.

In our day and age, Christmas has become very secular in many parts of the world. Few people take time on Christmas to truly pray and worship God for all that He has done. Few people continually proclaim that glorious message of the Incarnation to family and friends during this most solemn celebration. How about you? Are you able to be a true “prophet” of the Most High God this Christmas? Has the Holy Spirit overshadowed you and filled you with the grace needed to point others to this glorious reason for our celebration?

Reflect, today, upon the role of the Holy Spirit in your life this day. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you, inspire you, and strengthen you, and to give to you the wisdom you need to be a mouthpiece of the glorious gift of the birth of the Savior of the World this Christmas. No other gift could be more important to give to others than this message of truth and love.

Holy Spirit, I give You my life and invite You to come to me, to overshadow me and to fill me with Your divine presence. As You fill me, give me the wisdom I need to speak of Your greatness and to be an instrument through which others are drawn into the glorious celebration of the birth of the Savior of the World. Come, Holy Spirit, fill me, consume me and use me for Your glory.  Jesus, I trust in You.