Peace and Joy

IMG_1754 I've been trying to keep my focus on the real importance of Christmas this year. It's so easy to miss the point. Its not about all the material things we give or even receive. I've been trying to understand what it means to encounter the joy and the peace of Christmas. I've been trying not be too stressed when things go wrong. For example the Christmas Eve service plans went hay wire this yesr. We ended up having no musicians to play. My sermon notes weren't printed because I ran out of ink so I went down early to the church to use the printer there, only to find that I didn't have a clue how to put a new bottle of toner in the print machine. I ended up preaching without notes. But in truth it all worked out and I believe it was a meaningful service. On re-reading the story of the shepherds as described in Luke's Gospel. I discovered that the message " Good Tidings of Great Joy" made great sense to them because they discovered the 'peace and the joy' for themselves. I think what I learn from this story is that the shepherds where first and foremost optimistic and expectant. They decided that they would go and test out the truth of their experience. In doing so they encountered the joy and the peace of the Lord. It got me thinking - it is so important to try and live a life of expectant optimism. I'm sure this is what Paul meant and wanted us to practice when he said ' If God be for us who then can be against us' So I'm going to trust God right now and embrace the shepherds example. The Gospel itself is a message for all because it has at it's core the one thing for which we humans are longing - to be at peace with each other and with God.
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