God’s Christmas Gift

The Text: Luke 2:11 (ESV)

Christmas is a time to give gifts. There’s a story about unexpected gifts at Christmas which were regarded as heaven-sent. The story comes from about 100 years ago in Germany. It was after World War I. In those days in Germany there wasn’t much work or much money to go around.

One Christmas, a factory owner asked a young man to be St Nicholas for his family. He gave him a bag filled with apples, nuts, chocolates and toys, to bring to his house. On Christmas Eve the young man dressed in his costume and set out for the factory owner’s home. There was a thick fog that afternoon. As Santa made his way, people suddenly appeared out of the fog, startled to see him. Soon there was happy laughter, as they realised it was the night for Santa to be doing his rounds.

At last he arrived and came up to the home ringing a bell and stamping his feet.  He knocked at the door and immediately went in, because that’s what he was expected to do. But he was very surprised by what he saw. There was no Christmas tree and decorations.  There was only one light on. A woman was lying on a bed next to a stove and near her was a girl of 5 or 6, sobbing bitterly. 

The young Santa didn’t know what he should do or say. It wasn’t the factory owner’s home after all.  In his confusion he heard the child say, half-crying, half-laughing, “Santa is here, Mummy! And you said he wouldn’t visit us!” “Mummy’s sick, you know,” the little girl said to Santa. “And she said that because she’s sick, you wouldn’t come to us.”  Then, turning to her mother, she said, “But he’s come after all!”

The young man realised he’d become lost in the fog and had come to the wrong house. He couldn’t say, “I’m sorry. I got lost. I have to be going to a different house.” He did the only thing he could do.  He took the bag off his shoulder, reached in and took out the gifts.  Then he patted the girl on the head and shook hands with the amazed mother.  He heard the woman say, “Whoever you are, I don’t know. But you are a gift from Heaven”.

On arriving at the home of his boss, he explained what had happened. “I couldn’t help it, Herr Schroeder,” he said.  “I gave your gifts to someone else’s child without authority.” “It’s alright, my boy,” Schroeder said. You did the right thing. It wasn’t you who did it. It was Someone else. He led you to that place.  That’s what can happen at Christmas.  As for the bag, we’ll fill it again, right away.” 

And so the young Santa went to the children’s party to give out his gifts, as he’d originally set out to do. He soon found out who it was he’d stumbled on by mistake. But the mother and her daughter never discovered who the young Santa was, whom, as the woman said, “Heaven had sent”.

Presents bring joy at Christmas, especially to children. But the greatest gift of all, which is the real reason for Christmas, isn’t merely something from this Earth that’s Heaven-sent. 

The greatest gift is that ‘someone else’ in the story. He came from Heaven and was sent by God the Father. He was God’s Son from all eternity who came into our time as a little baby, the son of Mary. The message of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds of Bethlehem is also God’s good news for us: “For unto you is born … in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”.

By nature, all humanity is a captive of sin and the devil, without peace and hope. By nature, all people are in a worse position than the sick mother and her distraught daughter. Because we live under the verdict of death and eternal punishment because of our sins, the birth of the Saviour, the Rescuer, is more than good news. It’s the best news.   

Jesus, God’s Son, is the best of gifts.  He’s the gift of God’s Love to us. He is Christ, that is, He’s the Anointed One. He was anointed by His Father with the Holy Spirit at His baptism, to be the one who would take into Himself the sins of all people and who would pay for those sins by His death on a cross. He could do it because He’s also the Lord, just as the Father and the Holy Spirit are the Lord. As we say in the Nicene Creed, He’s “God from God”.

Christ, the Lord, was conceived by the creative power of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary.  He came bound up in the wrappings of human flesh and blood. Gift wrapping you can throw out.  God’s Son didn’t throw away the wrappings of His flesh and blood. He came to rescue us from our sins by giving His body into death and shedding His blood on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins. His saving work done, He triumphantly rose from the dead in His body, to show that He’s the victor over sin, death and the devil. Now He shares His victory with us.

He came from Heaven to Earth to unite Heaven and Earth. He came to bring about peace between God and sinners. He came to send us the Holy Spirit who brings about repentance in us and faith in God’s good news for us. All who believe in Him are rescued from sin and shame.  We have great joy and peace and hope. Like the angels at Bethlehem, we also give glory to God who has brought about peace between Himself and us.

In our story, the identity of the young Santa remained concealed. When Christ was born to bring us God’s gifts, His identity was proclaimed by angels, so that all might believe in Him.  His identity and location were proclaimed firstly to shepherds. They immediately went to find Christ, the King. When they found Him, they told everyone what the angels had told them about Him. They went back to their work, giving glory and praise God. The song of the angels was now their song.

We too give praise to God.  We thank Him for the best of gifts: Christ the Lord, born to rescue us from our distress. God also tells us where we can find the Christ for our salvation. We find Him in the Bible, because there we’re given His words, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We find Him in His Baptism, where He places His name on us and makes us part of His family. 

We find Him in His Supper, because there He feeds us with His own body and blood.  Where He gives Himself to us, He brings us His forgiveness and love, and fills us with peace, joy and hope. Jesus wasn’t only Heaven-sent. He came from heaven so that we also might have a place in Heaven. He’s God’s Christmas gift to us.


The birth of Jesus Christ

Luke 2:1–20

 If any of you grew up in the Church and were ever in a Nativity Play as children, you’ll know that one of the first things to be organised were the groups of angels and shepherds.

A few of the more confident children might score the roles of Mary and Joseph, or the Wise Men, but the rank-and-file average Sunday school child, slotted in line, year after year, as a faithful angel or shepherd. They were the backbone of the Nativity Play.

The fact that these two groups – angels and shepherds – were side by side in the Christmas story, is worth thinking about, because they were quite an unlikely pair. A Pastor once visited a Childcare Centre next to his church to read the Christmas story with the children. A little girl brought this into even sharper focus for him. Because before he began he asked if anyone knew what a shepherd was? One of the little girls said, ‘Yes, a shepherd has wings and flies through the air’.

What was going on? She had confused angels and shepherds, so close was the association between them in her mind.

It is really incredible that these two groups—shepherds and angel—should be so closely connected in our minds. Because…

On the one hand, you have the angels.

From the Bible we learn that angels are part of God’s creation, they aren’t eternal, they are created beings, and yet they are heavenly beings. God’s angels are untainted by sin and evil – they are pure and holy. They live in the presence of God, continually enjoying His glory, filled with the “light” of heaven. Their whole purpose is to adore and praise the Triune God, and to be His messengers and servants for God’s people on earth. Angels appear right through the story of the Bible.  But it’s worth noting that there seems to be an explosion of angels around the birth of Jesus.

Then on other hand, you’ve got the shepherds.

For a start, they’re only human beings living on earth. But more than that, in the world of those days, being a shepherd was some of the lowliest and most humble work a person could do. Notice in our text they were living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Can you imagine what they would have looked like and smelt like spending their life out with the animals in the fields? This was probably not the sort of life vocation parents aspired to for their children.  They are the sort of people we would think of as “a bit rough around the edges”.

Have you ever noticed too, that we never find out these shepherds’ names! They’re sort of presented to us as “no-bodies” in the eyes of the world. They’re perhaps on the bottom rung of social ladder.

So there’s a sense in which these two groups: the angels and the shepherds, represent the highest of heaven, and the lowest of earth. Those who are pure and holy, and those who are unclean. Those who live in the light, and those who live in the darkness.

So what about us?

Let’s say we were casting roles for our nativity play tonight with all of us in the cast. In which role would we fit? Shepherds, or angels?

Perhaps we’d like to think that there are at least some angelic-like aspects to our lives. It may be that, in reality, we tend to be a bit more shepherd-like. Most, if not all of us, may have a few rough edges as a result of things which may have happened to us and things for which we ourselves were responsible.

How has this past year been for us? Like the shepherds, have there been things happen which made us feel like we’re at the bottom of the heap too? Issues with health, family, work, relationships?

The dark corners of this world are a constant threat to our peace and security.

Or, has it been our own failures and mistakes which have reminded us that we’re far from being an angel? The darkness that lurks in our own heart—things, perhaps, which even make us cower in fear like those shepherds in the field?  

The shepherds were living in the darkness of night, exposed to the elements with their flocks. Our deepest problem is that, apart from God’s grace, we live in the darkness of our sin exposed to death.

But at Christmas, being a shepherd is the best possible place to be… Not because the shepherds reach their way up to heaven to be with the angels, but because the angels are sent from heaven to earth with good news for the shepherds.

In our fear, in our sadness, in our sins, let us listen to the words of the angel from heaven:

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”

For all the people. That includes us!

Jesus is born as our Saviour.

Christ, the Son of God, comes into this world as one of us. He is the King of angels, but He was born with the poor and lowly and laid in a manger, in a cattle shed. In Jesus God assumes our human flesh with all its rough edges, except He was born without our sin.

Jesus lived the life we couldn’t live on our own. He died the death we deserved – all to be our Saviour. All we can do is receive this good news of great joy! Jesus is the reason angels and shepherds can be side by side. Jesus brings heaven and earth together, because in Jesus, humanity is reconciled to God.

We are reconciled to our Father, God. That’s why the angels sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests.” (verse 14).

Those God favours are those who are found in Christ, having received the good news of great joy. Sin and evil want to divide and drive apart, but God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in the business of bringing together, bringing peace. And that is good news of great joy.

What Jesus has done, cannot be undone. And so heaven and earth continue to be joined together even this very night.

You might remember singing in the well-known carol:

‘Sing choirs of angels,

Sing in exultation,

Sing all ye citizens of heaven above,

Glory to God, in the highest…’

‘Sing choirs of angels’.

We sing these words tonight, not in some imaginary way, as if we have travelled back in time to the fields surrounding Bethlehem, We acknowledge the presence of the angels here and now because the reconciliation Jesus has brought between heaven and earth, between God and humanity, is a permanent change which still today protects us from our old shepherd-like rough edges and the dark corners of our lives.

We worship together with heaven. We glorify God together with the angels, As we gather in worship, heaven and earth are brought together all because of the Saviour who was born for us.

That’s why Sunday by Sunday we sing ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased…’

And again, ‘together with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, we adore and praise your glorious name’.

God may not give shepherds wings to fly through the air like the little Child Care Centre girl suggested, but He does transform shepherds into something close to angels. Have you ever noticed what the shepherds do at the end of the Christmas story? They return glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, which is just what the angels had been, and are doing.

The coming of Jesus our Saviour, that good news of great joy, is something which did change the shepherds. May that good news of great joy that is our Saviour’s birth for us, do its work in our lives once again this Christmas.

In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christmas Eve 2019

Text: Luke 2:10-12 (NIV)

The angel said to them (the shepherds), “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 

From heaven to hay

Let’s suppose that you are a visitor in Australia. You are interested in Australian politics and you know that our chief politician is the Prime Minister. You would like to meet him but you don’t know who he is or where to find him so you ask me for help.

I would say something like this, “This is what you need to look for. Go to Canberra and look for this large building with this huge Australian flag flying above it – that’s the Australian Parliament House. If you see someone in a suit welcoming some dignitaries from other countries with a lot of pomp and ceremony and speech-making, flanked by security men, journalists, TV and newspaper cameramen and reporters, that’s the Prime Minister.

An angel visited some shepherds near Bethlehem and gave them some signs to enable them to find a special baby in the nearby town. They were told that this child would bring great joy to all people. This child born in David’s town was the Saviour – the Son of the Most High God, a king like his ancestor David.

Then a great crowd of angels fill the sky and sing the praises of God at the birth of God’s Saviour into the world. What signs were the shepherds given to help them find this heavenly prince? They were told, “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

What a contrast this is to the usual signs of important people. If royalty were about to visit [name of town or city you are in], the signs would be evident. Newspapers and magazines would have photos and stories of the royal family and what preparations were taking place in the town. The streets would be tidied, the dignitaries of the shire would have the place where the royal reception was to take place spruced up and lessons would be given on protocol, what should be worn and how to address the royal family. Curious on-lookers who would want to catch a glimpse of the royal visitors would line the streets. The signs that someone important was arriving would be quite clear.

But when the Prince of Peace, the son of the Most High God, the Saviour of all humanity arrived in Bethlehem, the sign was “a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger”.

Let’s suppose that you were one of the shepherds and all that you know about this important child is what the angel had told you when he said, “This is the sign that will tell you that you have found the Saviour – Christ the Lord. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying on a bed of hay in a feeding trough.”

You can imagine the shepherds talking about this angelic message on the way to Bethlehem and discussing what this was all about. But once they had seen the baby lying in a bed of hay in a manger, what the angel had told them about the baby made good sense and nothing could stop them telling Mary and Joseph and anyone they came across what the angels had said and what they seen in the manger.

What did the message of the angel tell them, and us, about Jesus?

Firstly, these words tell us something about his humanity. The angel announced that the shepherds were to look for a baby, a newborn child. He came into the world the same way as all of us. It is true that this baby’s conception took place in a miraculous way, but apart from that, Mary carried this child for the usual nine months, felt the movement of her unborn child, and experienced the pain of childbirth in the same way as all mothers do.

We are told that the baby Jesus was wrapped in strips of cloth. In a world with little medical care, where babies often died before their first birthday, it was a way of providing a crude kind of protection. The Son of the Most High God was born as helpless and as vulnerable as any other child born at that time.

To say that Christ was born as a baby brings us face to face with the truth that Jesus was as human as you and I.Although he was fully and truly God from all eternity, the Son of God took on true humanity when he was conceived in Mary’s womb and born in Bethlehem. He was not half-God and half-man, but fully God and fully man. He did not cease to be God, but was at the same time fully human with the same emotions, same temptations, same physical needs, and same pain that we all experience.

Secondly, the words of the angel: “This very day in David’s town your Saviour is born—Christ the Lord! And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” told the shepherds something about the humble circumstances in which they will find this baby. They found the baby lying in a manger. In Bethlehem, there were probably a number of newborn babies wrapped in strips of cloth, but I’m sure that there was only one lying in an animal’s feeding trough. The mention of a manger indicates that Jesus was born in a stable, or a cave where animals were kept, or perhaps even in a very poor home where the animals lived inside the house with the family.

Before the birth of Jesus, the ancient writers never used the word “humble” as a compliment and would have certainly never referred to their gods as being “humble”. But the events of the first Christmas give us a picture of a “humble God” – an incomprehensible idea in the ancient world. Philip Yancey describes the humility of God in this way:

“The God who came to earth came not in a raging whirlwind nor a devouring fire. Unimaginably, the Maker of all things shrank down, down, down, so small as to become a single fertilised egg, barely visible to the human eye, an egg that would divide and redivide until a foetus took shape, enlarging cell by cell inside a nervous teenager. … God emerged in Palestine as a baby who could not speak or eat solid food or control his bladder, who depended on a teenager for shelter, food, and love” (The Jesus I Never Knew p 36).

There were no halos, no angels hovering over the stable, and no choirs singing in the background.

Maybe if you had been there you might have commented to another passer-by something about how terrible it was that this couple had brought a baby into the world and they only place they could lay the child was in an animal feed trough. Stables were dark, dirty, smelly places made for animals. The shepherds were told that they wouldn’t find the baby in a nursery but outside in a barn where the ground was covered with dirt and the air smelled of manure.

God does do some strange things some times. Occasionally he does strange things to get our attention – and he certainly got the attention of the shepherds. He always does strange things for a purpose. God became a human so that we could relate to him and so that people could experience the powerful love that God has for us.

God became human in order to save his people from their sins as the angel said to Joseph (Mt. 1.21). Beyond the cradle, see the cross. This baby in the hay was born for you and me. He was born because of God’s love for each of us. He was born into our world to bring us forgiveness and eternal life.

The island of Molokai is a part of Hawaii and has quite a history. Back in the late 1800’s there was no cure for the horrible disfiguring disease, leprosy. In order to keep it from spreading and creating an epidemic, lepers were sent to a colony on the island of Molokai.

In 1873, there was a young Belgian priest named Father Damien who volunteered to spend his life serving the people secluded on the island of Molokai. When he arrived, he was shocked to see the condition of the people. Not only were they physically sick but they were also disheartened. There was drunkenness, crime and an overall sense of hopelessness. They needed God’s presence in their lives. And so, in 1873, Father Damien lived among the 700 lepers, knowing the dangers, realizing the inevitable results of so much personal contact with a highly contagious disease. In fact, in 1885 at the age of 45 he himself contracted leprosy.

God has seen that we need his help. Sin has become a part of our lives and there is nothing we can do to free ourselves of its effect on us or our relationships. God was determined to do something about it. God loves us so much that he wanted to stop this procession toward death. Like Father Damien who made his home among the lepers to show them God’s love, God has made his home amongst us who have the leprosy of sin. 

He came to show us his love for us and to save us. He came down to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves – get rid of our sin and the punishment we deserve because of it. He came down and was born a human so that he could die for us. He wants us to be his and to live forever with him in heaven. We have a God who loves us, cares for us, forgives us and welcomes us into his kingdom.

The question that remains is – what is your response to this gift from God?

How is your life different because of what God has done for you?

The visit by the shepherds certainly had an impact in their lives. They couldn’t help but tell everyone they saw about what they had witnessed that evening both in the fields of Bethlehem and in the stable.

God came to earth to bring about change in our lives –to give us peace and hope in the face of difficulty, to clear away guilt for our sinful actions, to tear down old barriers and restore love and forgiveness between people. Let us also sing “Glory to God in the highest” We have our Saviour – Christ the Lord – who came down from heaven to be laid in hay!

Christmas Eve 2018

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to 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, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is give. That child is Jesus, the son of the living God. Joy to the world, rejoice! This child who came all those years ago is the Prince of peace, The mighty, heroic God, wonderful counsellor. In Him is gladness, in spite of our sadness. Born that humans no more may die. About 30yrs after the events we are remembering tonight He declared, ‘repent and believe the Good News, the Kingdom of Heaven is near!’ (Mark 1:15). His kingdom of peace, justice and righteousness that lasts forever.

This is the reason for Mary’s great joy, the excitement of the shepherds and the singing of the angels all those years ago. The one to come had come. You, like the Israelites before you, struggle and suffer in this corrupt world. There are natural disasters, like the drought, there are people who see you as just another obstacle, there is death and the deterioration of your bodies, and there is your own selfish/sinful desires that destroy good steering you away from God the righteous. Here in the life of this world we are dying, enslaved to our evil desires. We need help! Jesus, The Lord, saves, bringing us into His wonderful peace and righteousness, rescuing us from the evils of this world and cleansing us from all sin. So we rejoice and celebrate thanking God for the marvel that He has done, taking on human form and living among His people; relating to us as we do to each other rather than the fire and blazing light that He revealed through the Old Testament. Now, in Christ through Baptism by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can approach God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and ask Him for help because of His great love, mercy and zeal.

God keeps His promises, and thank God for that! He promised a son would be born, who would bring His kingdom to this world, and in Jesus He has done it! Thanks be to God! Now, you have some peace and assurance in Jesus, so continue to ask Him for all the help you need and rejoice when He gives it.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come. Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns. No more let sins and sorrows grow For He rules the world with truth and grace. And may His peace protect you now and forever. Amen.

Rev. Joseph Graham.

Christmas is a busy time

Isaiah 9:2-7


giftsAs the word of the Lord came to the prophet Isaiah, Israel was going through a dark time. The northern kingdom had been conquered by the Assyrian king and his forces. Many of the people of Israel were deported and replaced with foreigners from the Assyrian kingdom. For many in Israel it must have been unthinkable that God would allow Israel to be conquered by a foreign, pagan power.

In these dark, depressed times God speaks a word of promise. A great light appears to people walking in darkness. It can be argued that we, too, walk in dark times. We live in a world at war with terrorism. We live under the threat of weapons of mass destruction. There is poverty and injustice experienced by millions. So many people are living in spiritual darkness. Things may be bad. But there is hope .God has not abandoned his people. He is about to act. He will send the Messiah-King into the world to rescue all people from sin and death.

The prophet Isaiah mentions the titles that Lord God will give to his Messiah-King. Wonderful Counsellor,  Mighty God,  Everlasting Father,  Prince of Peace. Let’s have a look at these titles, one by one.

Wonderful Counsellor

A lot of people turn to human counsellors these days. Counsellors listen to people express their fears, misgivings, needs. Counsellors discuss various courses of action with their clients. Counsellors encourage their clients to make and own their final decisions. Jesus is the Wonderful Counsellor. He knows the needs of every individual person. He is aware of the problems in people’s lives brought about by the sin disease. He knows the fears, troubles, disappointments experienced by people. From eternity God planned to send this Counsellor into the world. God laid out his plans and pointed to them in promises he made to the patriarchs and prophets. God promised that a Saviour would come into the world. These promises were fulfilled when  Jesus the Wonderful Counsellor arrived on the scene.

Mighty God

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us. That’s the great news that we share at Christmas. And this child is no ordinary child. He is true God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And yet he sets aside the power and glory that belong to him. He takes on the form of a human being. He is born in humble circumstances; he leads a holy life in obedience to God’s will; he suffers and dies on the cross to make payment for the sin and guilt of humanity; he rises from the dead and give eternal life to all who believe in him.   As we celebrate Christmas we see God showing might in the child in the manger at Bethlehem, in the man on the cross at Calvary, in the empty grave which once enclosed Jesus. Perhaps we might expect to hear the might of God in a big booming voice, to see God in the brimstone of fire and judgment. With the eye of faith, faith given by the Holy Spirit, you and I can confess that the child born in Bethlehem, is the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. We bow the knee before this Jesus and say with St Paul:

Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
    (1 Timothy 3:16)

Everlasting Father

In the Book of Revelation we learn that John had a vision of Jesus. Jesus says: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:13) Jesus always was. The world and the universe has its origin in Jesus. In the Gospel St John states:  

He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.   (John 1: 3)

We take our purpose and meaning from Jesus who is one with the Father.

Prince of Peace

Jesus came into the world to establish peace between his Father and sinful human beings. He accomplished this not with the aid of guns and tanks, not by purchasing our freedom with economic wealth, but by his death on the cross. Because of all that Jesus did for us, we now have peace with God.

Suppose that someone hands you a Christmas present and says: I am giving you this because I love you. After taking off the bright wrappings you find in the parcel a book with a title about self-improvement, and though it may contain some good advice, you may or may not appreciate such a gift given the innuendo it may bring of your status before the gift giver.

But the great loving gift that God offers is peace. In fact, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, who offers true and lasting peace to people. Unfortunately, many people do not want the peace that Jesus gives. Once again, as we celebrate Christmas, we thank God for the wonderful peace that Jesus gives, a peace which the world cannot give or take away.

Christmas is a busy time. There is the constant rush of Christmas parties and end of year activities. But it’s wonderful to be able to gather with Christians at church and focus on what Christmas is all about. It’s good to hear again the message of God’s love to us in Jesus. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us.  He is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The love, joy and peace of Jesus be with you. Amen.