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Saturday, January 3, 2004

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1 John 2:29—3:6
Psalm 98
John 1:29-34

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christmas ends with pentecost

"When you see the Spirit descend and rest on Someone, it is He Who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit." —John 1:33

The finale of the Christmas season is not Christmas day or even Epiphany but the Baptism of Jesus. This is more emphasized in the Eastern Church. Christmas is Trinitarian. It is to the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit. Christmas is focused on Christ and culminates in the Holy Spirit, the only true Christmas Spirit. Thus, we should be looking to conclude the Christmas season by having the Holy Spirit stirred into flame in our lives (see 2 Tm 1:6-7). In a way, the Christmas season ends as Easter does — with a new Pentecost.

In our Baptism, Jesus has immersed us in the Holy Spirit (see Jn 1:33). We should be preoccupied with the Holy Spirit. However, we can fall into the temptation of being preoccupied with ourselves. The Lord teaches through the Church: "The more we renounce ourselves, the more we 'walk by the Spirit' " (Catechism, 736). The Spirit poured out within us fights against our selfishness (Gal 5:17). By the Spirit, we can "put to death the evil deeds of the body" (Rm 8:13).

In these last nine days of the Christmas season, let us not merely "have the Christmas spirit" but may the Holy Spirit of Christmas have us. Then we will truly have a great Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, give me Christmas by Your standards.

Promise:  "See what love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God. Yet that is what we are." —1 Jn 3:1

Praise:  Betty follows the lead of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:25) so she can minister to those who most need God's love.

Reference:  (Presentation Ministries offers a Lenten retreat, Living a New Lifestyle in the Spirit, March 12-13, 2004. For a brochure on this and other retreats, as well as information on how you can be immersed in God's word, the Sacraments, and Christian Community through these retreats, call 937-587-5464 or e-mail retreats@presentationministries.com)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003