Is this the winter of our discontent or the prelude to spring? That is the question. Actually it is both, or can be, depending on our perspective.
When John the Baptist came onto the scene two thousand years ago, the Jewish world had been bathed in darkness for a long time. Membership in the Roman Empire was no cake walk. It was full of hardship, humiliation, and despair. This made God’s people yearn all the more for a Messiah. So, when John went out into the wilderness and began preaching a message of repentance and forgiveness and baptizing, droves of desperate people flocked to hear his message of hope. Doubtless, many must have thought that he was the long-awaited Messiah. But John knew his mission; he was a good soldier, a team player. His role was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. Given his popularity and success, who could have blamed him if he began to think that he was the long-awaited one? But he didn’t; he kept his head down, his heart humble, and did his job. And it cost him his life.
We are currently in what is ordinarily “the most wonderful time of the year,” when we happily conduct the traditions of preparing for the celebration of the birth of the Messiah. However, a dark cloud hangs over the land, while Covid rages out of control and millions are out of work. So, yes, we have a lot to fret about this year, and that is very real. But – and this is a very big “but” – we also worship a God and follow a Christ who promised to be with us and for us and to walk with us every step of the way in life, through good times and bad. Even though we might not see much evidence that God is present right now, both Scripture and history assure us that God is with us, as promised. God didn’t promise to pluck us out of every valley of the shadow of death; God promised to walk with us through those valleys and to get us safely through to the other side.
So, take heart, my good friends. The winter is cold and dark and full of way too much sickness, death, and hunger. But the good news is that winter does not last forever; spring always comes after it. And when it comes, new life and beauty will be everywhere again. So, my prayer for you and for me is that we can keep our eyes on God’s promises instead of all the adversity around us. During Advent let us avail ourselves of all the spiritual disciplines God has given us: prayer, Bible study, worship, and acts of kindness and generosity. These are always good medicine for whatever ails us.
The writer of Proverbs got it right: “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Paul got it right too when he said, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is gracious, if there any excellence, if there anything worthy of praise, think about these things – and the God of peace will be with you.” Friends, this is no Pollyannaish fluff; it is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God! I hope to “see” you online for worship on Sunday. And thanks for all you do!
Thank you, thank you, to all of you who donated so generously to bring Christmas smiles to children from Wilburn Elementary. In total, $1,908 was raised! That means your giving will make a difference to 59 Wilburn families this Christmas. As my family likes to say, wow kapow!
Twenty families received a goodie bag, an age-appropriate book for their child, and a $40 gift card to buy presents. An additional 39 food-insecure families will receive $25 Food Lion gift cards, enabling them to have a holiday meal. Thank you for your caring and your generosity!
From Cheryl Anderson, Stewardship Elder: 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!
Please know that Trinity's elders, deacons, and staff are praying for you, your loved ones, and your friends as we follow state guidelines to restrict the spread of Covid-19. If you should have a care concern or celebration you'd like to share, please email David or the church office.
Please keep Missy and Chris Farrow in your prayers. They are at home after testing positive for Covid and are slowly improving. They so appreciate your prayers!
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.
Muriel Pepe has asked for prayers for her co-worker and friend, Dean Vaughn, who had surgery this week. Doctors recently discovered his cancer had returned and spread to his liver. Please pray for God’s healing hand to be upon Dean and for a successful procedure, as well as a return to health for him.
We ask that you pray for the family and friends of Ingrid Wood, who passed away on November 30th. Ingrid was a dear, dear friend of Louise Taff's, and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
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.
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. Thank you!
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.