Talk about a season for gift giving and most folks naturally assume you mean Christmas. That’s the time when God came to earth, took on human flesh, pitched a mortal tent, and dwelled among us, right? And our response to all that goodness coming into the world is to give gifts in honor of our King, much the way the Magi did.
But this is the wrong time of year to be having this conversation! As we celebrate Pentecost, on the liturgical dial about a theological 180 degrees around the circle from the Nativity. We celebrate how God comes to earth, inhabits human flesh, and dwells among us manifested in a diversity of gifts.
Is the coming of the Holy Spirit a kind of second Christmas, then? Certainly, it is a spiritual echo of that earlier arrival, for this time God comes among us, not as one of us, but within all of us. At the feast of the Nativity we give gifts, but on the feast of Pentecost it is God who gifts us. And what sort of presents does God have for us? The prophet Isaiah lists a generous baker’s half-dozen: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, courage, reverence, and awe. These gifts are given to the whole church so that we may want for nothing until Christ returns in glory. That day, we can imagine, will be a third kind of Christmas! It’s no longer just Christmas in December (nor Christmas in July) it’s Christmas in June, as we celebrate the Birth of our Church and the enflaming of our hearts! Come, Holy Spirit!
God Loves You!
Fr. Tim Biren, MN State Chaplain