December Message from Spiritual Director Rev. Jim Sunderland


Most of us have a mental image of Jesus Christ.

Some see Him as a Mighty God who has come to save us from our sin and death. Others worship Him as their Prince of Peace and Eternal Hope. Many see Him as their Healer–spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Jesus is each of these and much more.

However, especially at this Christmas Season, our thoughts turn to a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. It is here we are reminded of a profound truth: JESUS IS OUR IMMANUEL–OUR SAVIOR AND OUR LIVING LORD.

Mere words are not adequate when it comes to expressing the depth of Love that was demonstrated by God on the night of His Son’s birth. Had Jesus not come to earth, we would have never experienced the eternal gift of God’s love. But He did come, and with Him came the real JOY of Christmas and a wondrous opportunity to know God in a personal and intimate way. No matter who you are or what turns your life has taken, God is aware of you, and He loves you with an everlasting love. (Jer 31:3)
It was LOVE that prompted God to send His Son as an atonement for our sins. And it is this same love that motivates Him to draw us closer to Himself everyday.

LOVE as true as this reaches out to be shared over and over again.

The Apostle John wrote, In this is LOVE , not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins (I John 4:10). His words remind us that JESUS is the Father’s eternal gift of HOPE to a lost and dying world.

This Christmas as you give gifts to those you love, think of the love that was given to you that first Christmas.

Though none of us deserves His love, God gives it freely and without any regrets. Life’s great gift is not contained in a package, but in humble clothes of a baby who came to earth more than 2000 years ago.


Bishop Jim Sunderland
Keystone Emmaus Spiritual Director
Pastor of the Unityville United Methodist Paris


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