As a brief explanation to my readers: our lives, least of which my writing schedule have been entirely unscheduled over the last 3-4 days as we made arrangements to travel to the West Coast for my wife Nancy’s sister’s funeral. Added to that was my decision to get the third booter, which boosted me into chills, and aches and pains for 36 hours. But this morning I woke with peace, not only physically, but also spiritually to find this Thursday morning sunshine edition falling between the Sundays of hope and peace, and I chose our peace edition to share with you. I pray you will be blessed with the excellent articles by Pastor Janice Burnett and my friend Rob Keller, and that the amazing peace of Jesus will carry you through whatever you are facing this week. Sunshine Newsletter is a free devotional newsletter which is distributed in 8-9 long term care facilities in New York and Florida. Sunshine is produced by Pastor Janice Burnett who serves as a chaplain in Western New York, Rob Keller, my friend and our graphic artist and myself. To receive your free weekly pdf version simply send your request to Pastorpete51@gmail.com
Who Will You Tell? By Rob Keller
And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. Luke 2:17-18 ESV
Did you make your own greeting cards? When I was in art school, I began designing and printing my own Christmas cards. Forty-some-odd years later, I continue that tradition. Looking back over the years, there are a select few that I am quite happy with, but I can see now that some of my designs were pretty awful. I always found it very difficult to come up with a truly original idea.
It seemed like all of the words and images I could think of had been used a million times before. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I didn’t need to say something that had never been said before and the images used so often capture the essence of Christmas. It is not my job to reinvent the Christmas story, I am here to simply celebrate and share the good news of our Savior’s birth. The story of Christmas doesn’t need to be updated; it is timeless. It doesn’t need to be embellished. In its simplicity, it is majestic. The details of Jesus’ birth do not need to be defended against scoffers, that truth stands rock solid, without our help. There is nothing we can do to improve the Gospel. The power of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection has transformed countless lives over the centuries. The message of Christmas doesn’t need a makeover; it is a treasure to be passed, from generation to generation and from one heart to another. How will you pass it on this year? Who will you tell today?
Grace That Amazed! As we put up our tree and on top place the star That tells of the wise men and kings Who knelt and rejoiced in the stable that night And gave their myrrh, Frankincense and gold rings Take a moment to pray with a heart full of praise For on Christmas there came A grace that amazed! Grace that Amazed by Peter Caligiuri - Copyright 2019
Second Advent Sunday – Peace by Pastor Janice Burnett
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.” Luke 2:14
A journey usually takes lot of preparation. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve gone to visit family members who live in another part of the country, there have been many things that I’ve needed to get ready for that trip. Or, maybe for you the preparation has not been for a visit, but for a move from one place to another. Whether you have lived in just one place or several, any move requires preparation, and that preparation can bring stress– both physical and mental. Now, whether we are going on a trip or moving, we should remember to give plenty of notice because surprises can be nice, but, not everyone likes them. Imagine just showing up and saying – “here we are! We hope you have room for us?!” Now imagine what it was like for Mary and Joseph. Here they were – uninvited guests and one of them was a young lady about to give birth! Yikes!!! That’s exactly what it was like two thousand years ago when they arrived in Bethlehem. God had been telling the people of Israel ahead of time that their Savior would come. They were watching and waiting for Him – but they had their own ideas how that would happen! In the meantime, they were not exactly getting along with each other or those who were their rulers. We call that lack of peace. And on the inside, they didn’t have peace. Most importantly they didn’t have peace with God. So, listen to how the angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds!
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.” Luke 2:8-12 ESV
The peace that the angels spoke about is available to every person here on earth who puts their trust in God and that includes you and me! In the midst of trouble and the storms of life, we can have peace. As we experience sickness, separation from loved ones and questions about life, God assures us that His peace is available to us.
Prayer: Father God, in the middle of this world of chaos I thank you for loving us enough to send your Son Jesus who as Savior and our Prince of Peace!
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love – Saint Francis