John 14:27, 16:33, 20:19-23 – New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
John 16:33
33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
John 20:19-23
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam
The writers of “Almost Christmas,” suggest that Christmas is not about the gifts that we give. “It is about the gifts we become to God and to others.”
Their starting point is a sermon John Wesley preached at St. Mary’s Church on July 25, 1741, called “The Almost Christian.” Wesley’s premise was that one can have an outward appearance of godliness. Followers of Jesus, however, must do more than live an “almost life.”
In the four weeks leading up to Christmas, and the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we’ll consider what it means to give our hearts to God in total trust making “an altogether commitment to Christ.”
Each Sunday, as we light the Advent Candles, we’ll look at them in the new light of “An Altogether Peace, An Altogether Hope, An Altogether Love and An Altogether Joy.”
The writer Magrey R. Devega sees peace as “anger’s antidote.” Wesley had much to say about what it means to be a peacemaker and said all “must do good.” In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul gave seven instructions for navigating the seas of disagreement, controversy and anger.
The Gospel of John tells us that peace is here, it is in those who follow Jesus. Peace is the gift he gives us. Peace is the gift we are to bring to all we encounter including ourselves.
Peace and Grace,

Pastor Pam