You hear a lot about the spirit of Christmas at this time of year. But the spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ.

The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine person. These distinctions make all the difference in the world.

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “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.” (Luke 1:34-35)

The angel explained to Mary that she was actually going to experience the birth of Christ through the Holy Spirit in her life. The angel said to her that the power of the Almighty, through the Holy Spirit, was going to rest upon her. The baby to be born of Mary would be the One whose kingdom would never end. This light of Christ wouldn’t just flash into Mary’s life and then die away. With the coming of this child, God was about to establish His eternal kingdom.

Christ can also be born in our lives. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are born again. It is a supernatural, spiritual work that makes us children of God, brought into His family and kingdom. The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians living in Galatia, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). Paul was not talking about an annual event, but about a perpetual indwelling. The Spirit of Christ in us is not sentimental, beginning and ending with a sweet baby in a manger, but it is supernatural, powerful, and life-changing.

Living in the Spirit of Christ does not mean that people try hard to be more noble, good, and kind for a specific season every year. No. For Christians, God is, in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. The Holy Spirit enables people to be what they’re not and to do what they can’t. The Spirit of Christ is actually God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, being born in the lives of people, in all times and seasons.

Let us concentrate on experiencing the Spirit of Christ from now to next Christmas—and throughout the many years and Christmas seasons to come. The spirit of Christmas will come and go and be glamorized and trivialized. But all the while, the Spirit of Christ is being born into one person after another, and God’s eternal kingdom is being established in our lives.