Does the Holy Spirit show up at Christmas? Traditionally, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on humanity is linked with Pentecost.
However, the Holy Spirit does appear in the Old Testament, starting with creation and then appears intermittently, especially as He speak through the prophets.
Does the Holy Spirit appear at Christmas? I think we can see evidence of His presence even if He is not always explicitly mentioned.
Of course, Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. That’s one of the most miraculous acts of the Holy Spirit at all times. We confess that Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit” (Apostle’s Creed). There would be no birth of Jesus without the Holy Spirit. There would be no Christmas with the Holy Spirit.
What about the wise men? Were they filled and guided by the Holy Spirit? Whether they were wise men, learned men, scientists, astrologers, or all of the above, they certainly had enough discernment to know that a new or bright star in the sky was significant enough to go in search of the new born King promised to us in Micah 5:2.
Herod was threatened. He didn’t know what to do. A new king born to the Jews might threaten his position as king. What to do? Kill the newborn king! Soon all of his kingdom might want to worship this new king too leaving him out of a job. How to do it? Pretend to want to worship this king too. Get the wise men to tell him where to find this king so he can get rid of him.
But hold on! Joel 2:28 says, “your old men will dream dreams.” The wise men have a dream warning them not to go back to Herod so they retuned home another way. Danger diverted through a dream. Was that a God dream? I think we can all agree on this. Was this the Holy Spirit? Well, that’s less clear.
But the Bible says, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh . . . your old men will dream dreams.“ (Joel 2:28)
It also says that “your sons and daughters shall prophesy . . .” (Joel 2:28) Simeon had the Holy Spirit upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he cam in the Spirit into the temple . . .” (Luke 2:25-27) By the Spirit of God Simeon pronounced the most beautiful blessing upon Jesus as He was presented at the temple.
And then there was a prophetess, Anna. She gave thanks to God and spoke of Jesus to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)