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I’ve just welcomed my second granddaughter into the world, an event which could be summed up in the phrase ‘She’s here!’ After many long hours of labour, the news that she had safely arrived was a great blessing to me. Her arrival inevitably and irrevocably changes our lives and we are glad to be able to adapt and learn to live with her presence because she belongs to us in a very special way.

In the same way, the Holy Spirit’s arrival on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) irrevocably changed the disciples’ lives and His presence with us and in us provides the fuel for our Christian living (John 14:17, 1 Cor 6:19). His dramatic arrival – with the sound like a rushing wind and what seemed like tongues of fire resting on people’s heads (Acts 2:2-3) – on the Day of Pentecost (a festival celebrating the first harvest as well as being associated with the renewal of God’s covenant with Noah and Moses and the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai) can be said to be the birthday of the church – a time when the disciples stopped being simply a group of followers of Jesus and became, as He had prophesied, His witnesses to the entire world. (Acts 1:8)

The Holy Spirit had previously ‘rested’ on people (e.g. on Saul, 1 Sam 10:10; on leaders in Israel, Num 11:25). Jesus had even breathed on His disciples to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22), but the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost signified a new era, one which continues to this day.

Our everyday lives need to acknowledge and reflect the fact that the Holy Spirit is now here! Just as I can’t ignore my granddaughter’s arrival, but have to change how I live to take her into account, so we need to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us on a daily basis and change how we live, growing His fruit (character) in our lives. (Eph 5:18, Gal 5:22-23) He is God and we must seek not to grieve Him (Eph 4:30) or quench Him (1 Thess 5:19). Instead, we need to learn to walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16) and witness to Jesus through the words He gives (Luke 11:11-12).