People of Word and Spirit. That was the goodbye message recently left to us at The Belfrey by Greg Downes. He challenged us to be people who are even more committed to living and obeying the Bible, and people who are even more filled with the Holy Spirit. (If you missed it you can listen by clicking here).

Bezalel is the first person in the Bible who’s described as being ‘full of the Spirit’ (see Exodus 31:1-11). The Bible is very clear that this is for the sake of creativity. God pours in the Spirit, and out comes artistic expression, design ideas and the ability to make beautiful things. That’s because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of creativity. As he comes to us he often releases all sorts of creative and innovative things.

During this Advent and Christmas season, let’s be asking the Spirit to come and release fresh creativity amongst us, and let’s celebrate the Spirit’s creative presence. Some of our church are taking up the Bible Society’s ‘Advent Challenge’ where you’re given each day some new suggestions of how to live out your faith. Such creative challenges are great and to be embraced! Many of us will be attending Carol Services in the coming days, like The Belfrey’s Minster Carol Service on 10th December. As we do so, let’s appreciate the creative gifts of the musicians, actors, speakers, designers and many others involved in such beautiful acts of worship. Why not also during this season honour the artists and creatives? One way to do this in York is to pop into the Pyramid Gallery (43 Stonegate) and see Gill Douglas’ ‘Treasures of Darkness’ art exhibition.

At The Belfrey we love creativity! It’s a sign of the Spirit. That’s why, whilst valuing our history and heritage, we also celebrate the new. Encouraging the new is actually very important, and an aspect of discipleship we often miss, which is why I included a whole chapter about it (‘N is for New’) in my A-Z of Discipleship book. We need to welcome innovation and allow people to have a go. The risk, of course,  is that sometimes things will not work out quite as intended or will take time to get right, but as the saying goes, it’s best to try and fail, than fail to try! As we know from watching children play, creativity is wonderful – but often messy!

So this Advent and Christmas, be creative. Have a go. Try some new things. Eat some new food. Play some new music. Maybe decorate your home differently. Invite someone to a Carol Service who you normally wouldn’t. Let’s be inviting the Spirit of creativity who first filled Bezalel with creative ideas to fill us to overflowing. The results may be surprising…

Happy Advent to you and your family.

(This is an adaption of a weekly message I recently sent to members of The Belfrey)

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