He had trudged on for days
Through the cold and the heat
Till the dust of long roads
Was caked hard on his feet
And behind on the donkey
Mary followed as best
As she could though she ached
And she wished they could rest
Then she touched Joseph’s shoulder
And he turned with a smile
Their eyes knowingly met
So, he paused for a while
Then he looked to the village
At the crest of the hill
And remembered God’s promise
Was to be there fulfilled
And he picked up the reins
Then pressed on one more mile
Trusting this was God's place
For the birth of His childJoseph's Pause by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 all rights reserved
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. Luke 2:4-5 KJV
Once in our world, a Stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world. C. S. Lewis
THIRD Week of ADVENT – JOY. Pastor Janice Burnett When I was a little girl I would have a recurring bad dream that now seems really silly – but at that time it was very scary. Each time I woke up afraid from that dream, my father came to my room and comforted me. You could say that his presence brought me not only hope and peace as we discussed the last two weeks – but it also brought joy. I don’t remember what he told me, but it worked! When you’re afraid, doesn’t good news bring you joy? A few thousand years ago there were men, minding their own business watching a flock of sheep at night. No one else wanted their job, because in that day shepherding was considered dirty work. While the rest of the world was sleeping safely in their homes, the shepherds were out in the fields with sheep. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:8-17 NIV The shepherds went from being terrified to being joyous. I’m sure that they had heard of babies being born plenty of times before. It is always good news to hear about a baby’s birth. But…this wasn’t “just any birth”! This was the birth of the Messiah – the one who would take away the sins of people, and God chose the shepherds to hear the good news first. Who wouldn’t rejoice and jump and shout for joy with that kind of good news? Their good news about Jesus is still good news for us today. Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the joy that comes from knowing You and Your Son Jesus who comes every time I call to Him, even when I don’t feel good or am afraid. Help me to experience Your hope, peace and joy. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!
God Can Even Use Taxes! By Peter Caligiuri And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David 🙂 Luke 2:3-4 KJV There is a great deal of talk in the church about finding God’s will for our finances, families, and careers. People often talk about God speaking to them about their ministry, buying a house or even choosing a spouse. But amazingly, God chose to lead Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem just in time for Jesus to be born there by having the government send them a bill for taxes! God’s doesn’t design His plan to be like a puzzle for us to solve, or a theological issue open to debate. He regularly chooses the most ordinary ways to lead us to some of the most spectacular breakthroughs for our lives. He works that way to show us that He is interested in the everyday concerns of our lives. If He chose to reveal the exact place and time for Jesus’ birth by a bill in the mail, we can be confident that if we are willing to obey Him; He will show us the way to go and help us get there right on time!
It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you. Mother Teresa
Thursday Sunshine is a weekly devotional newsletter that is a collaboration between Pastor Janice Burnett, Rob Keller and myself(Peter Caligiuri) we publish and distribute the Sunshine Newsletter among 8-9 different long term care facilities in Jew York and Florida. If you would like to receive our free publication simply send your contact information to Revpete51@gmail.com.
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the only one of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV
When I stopped to put my dollar in the Salvation Army bucket outside of our local Walmart the bell ringer started to talk about Christmas. At first it was nice meeting someone who seemed to appreciate what Christmas is supposed to be about. But soon He was steering the conversation down the path of a somewhat bizarre interpretation of who and how the baby in the manger came to be. He kept pressing his point further and further with detail after detail that fit together until His conclusion somehow lost its way. Sadly I had to walk away, because what had begun as a celebration of God’s gift felt more like the dissection of a butterfly.
There is a beauty and a mystery in the incarnation that we can only see with eyes of faith. When each Christmas we pause and ponder on the astonishing reality of God coming as a baby we can only kneel in awe and worship. We ask again the question Mary asked, “How can these things be?” Again the answer comes. “The Spirit of God will overshadow you…”
If we try to get hold of every detail we end up like a drowning man grasping at straws. We can get our hands around straws, but only God’s Spirit and our faith that He has come can save us in the end. Then with John we can say, ” And we have seen His glory… Full of grace and truth!”