25 December 2023

Happy Christmas from the territorial leaders

Commissioners Anthony and Gill Cotterill

Commissioners Anthony and Gill Cotterill share a video message for Christmas Day.

Commissioner Gill: Greetings to you on this Christmas Day!

Commissioner Anthony: Happy Christmas! This day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God the Son.

Commissioner Gill: But also of course thanking God the father – thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Commissioner Anthony: Yes, as General John Larsson once wrote in a lovely chorus, which said: ‘Thank you God for your gift beyond words.’

Commissioner Gill: I love it in Colossians when Paul described Jesus as the image of the invisible God. He makes God the Father known: God the Father and God the Son.

Commissioner Anthony: One thing that’s sometimes overlooked is the work of the Spirit of God around the birth of Jesus.

Commissioner Gill: Yes, there’s actually remarkable work of Spirit leading up to the time when Jesus comes.

Commissioner Anthony: Yes, because before the arrival of Jesus there’s like 400 years of silence from God between the Old and the New Testament. Then suddenly, it all starts happening!

Commissioner Gill: In Luke 1, the Angel Gabriel told Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth, will have a son to be called John, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

Commissioner Anthony: Then Mary is told by an angel that she will have a child: ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the one to be born will be called the Son of God.’

Commissioner Gill: Then Mary goes and meets her cousin, Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. So John Baptist was filled with the Spirit in the womb and so is Elizabeth!

Commissioner Anthony: Then Zechariah, John’s father, is also filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s a remarkable time!

Commissioner Gill: Don’t forget that Joseph is told by an angel what is going on – don’t be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 

Commissioner Anthony: Then eight days after birth of Jesus, we read in Luke 2 about Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.Moved by the Spirit, he went into the Temple courts. When Mary and Joseph brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God.

Commissioner Gill: I know it’s much later on when John and Jesus are men, but interestingly John says: ‘I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Commissioner Anthony: Yes, and then in Luke 4, Jesus is in Nazareth in the synagogue and he reads from Isaiah: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

Commissioner Gill: This is Immanuel, God with us – God the Father, God the Spirit and God the Son, whose birth we celebrate today – the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us!

Commissioner Anthony: A very happy Christmas to you all.

Commissioner Gill: But may his Spirit be with us and move within us.

Commissioner Anthony: May you have a Spirit-filled Christmas. The right kind of spirit – not just the spirit of Christmas, but filled by the Spirit of God.

Commissioner Gill: After all, Christmas isn’t Christmas until it happens in your heart!

Commissioner Gill and Commissioner Anthony: God bless you!

Written by

A photo of Commissioners Anthony and Gill Cotterill

Commissioners Anthony and Gill Cotterill

Territorial leaders

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