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Trinity Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC
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This is the season of lights! In the bleak mid-winter we are faced with light deprivation. In the far reaches of the northern hemisphere, where they have only a few hours of sunlight during the winter, they have a common ailment called seasonal affective disorder, which is a mild form of depression. The Gospel of John starts out with testimony to Jesus as the light of the world who shines in the dark corners of the world and the darkness has not overcome it. Surely, this is why we celebrate the birth of Christ, the great incarnation of God, with billions of lights. This time of year we put up fir trees festooned with lights, and we string lights up on our houses and in the yard to celebrate the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. We light Advent candles of hope, preparation, joy, and love in worship and at home. 

Before electricity, the world lived by the sun. After dark was a dangerous time when work or travel was not so safe. When Thomas Edison invented the electric bulb, economic productivity, recreation, and entertainment drastically increased. Just think how important light is in life. We use it as a symbol of knowledge and education. Most educational institutions have the Latin word for light (lux) in their seals. The greatest scientific age of western history was called the Enlightenment. The Bible calls God’s word a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  

I find it instructive that John called Jesus the light of the world, and Matthew reports that Jesus told his followers that they were the light of the world and were to let their light shine before others that they may see their good works and give glory to God. Right now we are experiencing not only the darkness of shorter winter days, but also the darkness of a prolonged Covid pandemic that is in its third and worst surge. The light at the end of the tunnel is that vaccines are on their way that promises to have this disease in check by late spring or early summer. Thanks be to God! Until then we need to keep the faith and keep up safe practices.

In two weeks, we will celebrate Christmas Eve with two services of lights. Both will be online, so I invite you to secure some candles so that we can light our candles together to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah sent by God to bring salvation and peace to all people. Advent and Christmas always seem to put our worries and concerns into perspective. They remind us of God’s promises to be with us and for us no matter what the state of our world is. We remember that God is not only all powerful, all knowing, and ubiquitous, but also merciful, gracious, and abounding with steadfast love that endures forever. That is the good news of Jesus; that is the light at the end of the tunnel that shines steadily and brightly, lighting the way for us to walk safely and securely. So, let us join the angelic choir who sang long ago, “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are me in the tonight.”

May God continue to bless you and yours with safety and good health, and may we continue to be a blessing to one another.  “See” you online on the Third Sunday of Advent.  

Your pastor and friend,
David
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Seasonal Offerings
PCUSA's Christmas Joy Offering: By giving to the Christmas Joy Offering, you honor God's gift of Jesus Christ by providing assistance to current and retired church workers in their time of need and developing our future leaders at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. To give to the Christmas Joy offering, please make your check out to Trinity and note 'Christmas Joy' in the memo line.

Staff Gift Offering: As we enter this Christmas season, our world seems out of sorts in many ways. Yet we still have the incredible opportunity to spend time in worship, prayer and study although their form may be somewhat different this year. Our amazing staff continues to keep our church moving forward through new and innovative ways of serving God and others. As we have in previous years, we will be collecting funds for a staff gift as a way to say “thank you” for all that they do for Trinity. Please note “staff gift” on your check to ensure it gets to the right place. I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas season! ~ Cheryl Anderson, Stewardship Team elder
 
From Trinity's bookkeeper, John Montague: Thank you for your support of the church’s ministry and mission! For donations to be credited to the 2020 tax year, they must be received or postmarked by December 31, 2020.
Please know that Trinity's elders, deacons, and staff are praying for you, your loved ones, and your friends. If you should have a care concern or celebration you'd like to share, please email David or the church office

John Dixon was admitted to the hospital for high blood pressure and shortness of breath. The doctors are keeping him for observation for probably one more day. Please pray for a full and swift recovery.

Anthony Liddicote’s fiancé, Haley Glick, has been diagnosed with Covid-19. She is experiencing symptoms of fatigue, congestion, and a slight fever. Please pray for her comfort and a steady recovery. Please also pray for the health and safety of her family, friends, and co-workers. 

Cheryl Anderson’s cousin, Andy Morris, had successful heart surgery; thanks be to God!  Unfortunately, he has had a small stroke that affected his right side and his eye. They are currently checking for blood clots. Please pray that these effects are temporary, for Andy's comfort while healing, and a complete recovery.

Brian Alford’s parents, Gary and Faye Alford, have tested positive for Covid. Thankfully they are at home and in stable condition, and Brian’s sister, Jennifer, is caring for them. Please keep them all in your prayers and pray for a full and swift recovery for Gary and Faye.

Virginia Raby's brother, Bob Watson, had successful surgery at Duke this week. The doctors replaced a battery in his chest that powers electrodes which counteract his tremors from Parkinson's. 

As we continue to pay the church's unchanging monthly obligations, we remain sincerely grateful for your giving. Louise Taff, our Receiving Treasurer, is checking the mail frequently each week, making the deposits for the church. If you have questions about your giving, please email Louise. For donations to be credited to the 2020 tax year, they must be received or postmarked by December 31, 2020.

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Trinity's in-person activities are suspended through Sunday, January 25th. Session will meet on Monday, January 18th to determine if the suspension of activities should continue, based on health guidelines.
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