Have you opened your gifts yet? What about the One that wasn’t under
the tree? The One who was born in a manger? It’s CHRISTMAS DAY!
A day filled with joy, awe, wonder, and a whole lotta food!
But in many ways, this Christmas looks different. We’re gathering in
smaller groups or eating alone. The money for gifts is stretched, and
some will have none. The food on the table may come from a food
bank this year, thanks to the kindness of strangers.
Yes, Christmas looks very different this year, but the Reason for the
Season remains the same. Over 2000 years ago, the Messiah came to
save us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray. Well, the
world has gone astray – again. Worship is astray – we listen to
everyone else but God. Relationships are astray – brother against
brother, racial injustice. And global health is certainly astray – a tiny
virus has shut down the world! If we ever needed a Savior, if we ever
needed peace on earth and goodwill to all, it’s now!
But wait – the last Gift is still waiting…
;For unto us a child is born, to us a son is GIVEN, and the
government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, the Prince of PEACE."
Isaiah 9:6, NIV
We’ve been given the Gift of Peace! But that’s not all…
For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son, so
that everyone who believes in Him may not perish
but may have ETERNAL LIFE."
John 3:16, NIV
We’ve been given the Gift of Salvation! Eternal life. Oh, you may not
understand it now, but look at it this way – you have a lifetime
warranty! We have a home in Heaven and a reservation in eternity
with our name on it. It doesn’t expire, and we can’t check out of here
too soon! Our lives are in the hands of the Prince of Peace! That’s
Good News of great JOY!
During this season of expectation, hope, and rejoicing, we are also
mindful of those for whom this is not a joyous time - those who have
experienced loss in ways large and small. For many, myself included,
this will be the first Christmas without a loved one. It is at times such
as these that we are reminded that our prayers do make a difference.
In fact, standing right there - between hopelessness & hopefulness - is
PRAYER! May we continue to pray for the brokenhearted, the
homeless, those who feel alone, and for those all over the world who
are in need of the Comforter. May we pray that the love of God, shown
to us in the One who took on the form of flesh & dwelt among us, will
permeate the hearts of the hurting, bringing peace. Peace came to this
world as a baby, but now Peace rules in our hearts as a Prince. Peace
came TO us, so that now peace could live IN us. Heavenly Peace.
We are not alone, we are not forsaken, God sees & God cares. That’s
why God sent His very best Gift, Jesus! This Christmas, I join you in
the steadfast proclamation of Emmanuel, GOD IS WITH US! We've
been given the Gift that keeps on giving. The Gift of salvation, the Gift
of eternal life, the Gift of Jesus. Unwrap the Gift and receive love,
grace, mercy, and joy, unspeakable joy! Joy to the world, the Lord is
Worship with us online this Sunday at 10:00am, at www.umcgt.org, or
via phone by calling 562-314-1212, as we bring the year 2020 to a
close! I can’t be mad about 2020 because that’s the year that I came to
the people of Green Trails Church, which has truly been a blessing!
And don’t forget to unwrap your Christmas gift from the church, an
invitation to RightNow Media, where you can access thousands of
Bible studies! If you don’t have the email invitation, click on this link
and create your very own account:
May you and your family experience the JOY of Christmas!
Peace and Grace,