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  • Pastor Linda Settles

Heavenly Peace!



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

come!


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:

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Account/Invite/umcgt. The

blessings abound!


May you and your family experience the JOY of Christmas!


Peace and Grace,

Pastor Linda

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