Photo by Emily Malloy for TOH 4
By Bridget McCartney Nohara
The holiday season seems synonymous with hosting. Our homes are a place to gather, rest, and enjoy festive fellowship. While this can be a pure delight, it also implies effort and sometimes stress. If you are planning to host this holiday season, don’t forget to add the Holy Spirit to your guest list. The Spirit most certainly will enhance every gathering, but more importantly, he will allow you to be a more selfless host as you experience deeper peace.
Here are three names to call upon the Holy Spirit this season as you ask him to intercede for your hosting.
While we all hope our parties are harmonious, that just isn’t always the case. Gathering families and groups of people who have different stories and opinions can be intimidating, and potentially lead to arguments or tension. If you fear that an upcoming get-together might be breeding ground for unrest, pray to the Holy Spirit as unifier.
A hallmark characteristic of the Paraclete is his knack for unifying people. Invite him into your heart and your home, praying that he might cast out the fear of division. Pray for your guests, by name if you feel nudged, that they, too, might experience the Spirit of unification. And pray, finally, that if a moment of unrest sneaks into your gathering, you might approach it with love and peace.
Isn’t it funny that for as many words as we know, sometimes we just don’t know what to say? Perhaps you’ll be seeing an old friend, and you feel like there’s just too much to catch up on and you have no idea where to begin. Maybe there’s a relative you don’t click with, and you’d like to be genuine without delving into “risky” topics. Maybe a friend has experienced loss and you’re unsure how to comfort her. Or maybe it’s as simple as you deeply desire to have heartfelt conversations, but need to find the balance between that and making sure the turkey is just right.
In all these situations: remember, the Holy Spirit is the great communicator. We don’t have to do it alone. He draws together people of all tribes and tongues, granting them the grace to speak to one another and be understood regardless of where they are from. “Through his grace, the Holy Spirit is the first to awaken faith in us and to communicate to us the new life, which is to ‘know the Father, and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ.” (CCC 684)
As your door swings open this holiday season, call upon the Holy Spirit to stir up tongues of fire, and invite an outpouring of his love so that you, and all who walk through your door, might be at peace, and that all communication might be for the glory of God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that when Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit, he calls him, “‘the Paraclete’, literally, ‘he who is called to one’s side’, ‘ad-vocatus’.” (CCC 692). We are invited to call upon the Holy Spirit to advocate for us, and to draw close to our side in both the monumental and the mundane.
As we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, we become more capable of entering into the present moment. The Holy Spirit steadies the turbulence in our hearts, and welcomes us to receive the grace intended for the task at hand.
Becoming more present has a myriad of benefits, not least of which is improving our hospitality and hosting. Deeply present, we can attend to our guests in a new way. We may be less reactive, less quick to rush, and less likely to be offended. We may also be more in tune with the needs of others, whether it’s filling the empty glass or asking a good question, the Holy Spirit can teach us how to love the people in front of us.
This holiday season, consider cultivating a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. It’s ok if it takes time; relationship with the Holy Spirit is a grace, but also a practice. It is a habit that can be built upon day after day, a muscle that can be strengthened. Call upon his name, out loud if you’d like, in the rooms throughout your house. Welcome him in every space, and invite him to continue shaping your own heart to look more like Jesus. As we spend more time with the Holy Spirit, he will reveal himself more fully to us.
Bridget McCartney Nohara graduated from Franciscan University with a degree in communication arts and a concentration in journalism. Ohio born and bred, she now writes from her home in Ontario, Canada, where she serves as admissions communication manager for Franciscan and writes for the National Catholic Register. In the scraps of time she knits together, Bridget loves exercising, crafting charcuterie boards, and slowly building her new Etsy shop.