December 18

December 18

Friday, December 18, 2020

 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

John 3:21
people using phone flashlights to read

Life is unexpected.  When the lights go out, where do you turn for guidance?  As those in the photo navigate their way in the darkness, they seek guidance to find a path of comfort and

assistance.   Some of the people in the photo are lost, looking for direction in the darkness.  For others, the light of their phones has provided direction and comfort, allowing them to see again.  Their actions can be used as an example of how light can help lead and direct others who are still lost. In John 3:21, God is that light.  God leads those that call to him for guidance and direction.   We confront darkness and sin at every turn.  Those that look to God for guidance and direction, receive his strength, and are able to see through the darkness.

There is no doubting that 2020 has been a year that has been a test in seeking direction and finding light through the darkness.  Fear, isolation, distrust, among many other emotions, have led some on a path of darkness and sin.  Many of us sometimes feel lost in the dark with no light.  Like others, I have searched for this guidance through prayer.  Praying to God for guidance and strength, for His light to illuminate my path.  As we progress through this Advent and holiday season, may the twinkling lights we see be a reminder to commit ourselves to goodness and truth through our practices and actions, in the light of God.

Brett Sinsabaugh

December 17

December 17

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2
a cross in a garden at night


When I read this verse, I think of Handel’s “Messiah,” which draws on this verse and the ones that follow in his great conclusion to Part I. 

Handel was celebrating the Christian hope found in the birth of Christ.  Isaiah, however, was writing in the 700s BCE.  Some scholars believe he was celebrating the accession of King Hezekiah and his ritual adoption by the nation as God’s son.

Yet the oracle reaches beyond historical bounds as it looks to the “Day of the Lord” and the new age of justice and righteousness that God promises to bring to pass.

We believe that new age began with the birth of the Christ Child, and we’ll see its total fulfillment in God’s future time.

Isaiah spoke to an age of darkness, where Israel was under the threat of the Assyrian Empire, to whom they would fall captive.

In our day of COVID-19, political turmoil, racial unrest, and economic uncertainty, it is easy to succumb to dark despair, but in such a time as this, our ultimate hope is, but in the eternal providence of God who brings hope and light to those with eyes to see.

Doug Hill

December 20

December 20

Fourth Week of Advent, Sunday, December 20, 2020

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. 

Isaiah 9:6
kids dressed as angels singing

For children, the Advent season is a time of excitement and expectation. They eagerly look forward to taking part in Christmas programs, helping parents prepare for celebrations and learning the story of Christ’s birth. Their joy and anticipation are inspiring and refreshing to see, even if their tinsel halos are a bit crooked or they become shy when confronted with an audience.

In this verse, Isaiah foretells the coming of Christ as a longed-for child, a gift not just to Mary and Joseph, but to the world. He envisions Christ as a ruler who is a counselor, advising and advocating; a God, strong and powerful; a father, reliable and loving; a prince, peaceful and caring. In these few words, we can see the story of Christ coming to earth as a baby and then ruling as Lord when He will come in glory.

Meanwhile, we who live in the time between the first and second Advent will watch and prepare for His coming, just as our forebears have done for centuries. In this especially difficult year, the message of Advent—– that Christ brings hope, peace, joy and love— takes on new meaning. It reminds us that the Child whose birth we celebrate at Christmas will one day sweep away all earthly troubles and take the government upon His shoulders, in unity and triumph.

With that in mind, even those of us whose tinsel-halo days are past can still observe Advent with the joyous, hopeful perspective of children, watching and waiting.

Caroline Cardwell

December 16

December 16

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

Matthew 2:9-10
“Adoration of the Magi” by Ruebens, Madrid image from


When I think of the Three Kings I am surrounded by a cavalcade of wonderful memories.  The painting attached, however, seems full of confusion and foreboding. But baby Jesus seems not to be worried about anything.  He is the bright star.

In my family there actually were three Kings.  They would show up together at every holiday gathering laden with gifts for everyone.  Every Christmas card I received from them were of the theme of the Magi.  They would bring a birthday cake for the newborn Christ Child.  They did not need a star to guide them to Jesus.  He lived in their hearts. 

The manger was an integral part of my Christmas decorations.  It could not be completely set up until it was the right time.  So there we were hiding the baby Jesus until Christmas Eve when he could be properly placed in the crib accompanied by singing Happy Birthday dear Jesus. 

More was missing….the Kings were not there.  They were in some random parts of the house following the guiding light of the star.  They were moved slowly toward the manger and by Epiphany Sunday they arrived with their gifts in the manger.  They must have been exhausted by my children impeding the progress of their journey at every turn.

An important lesson was learned at my home.  Sometimes even if you see a star and your destination seems clear it still might be difficult to find Jesus.  You need faith, patience and perseverance.

How is your search for Jesus going this year?

Joanne Angelo

December 14

December 14

Monday, December 14, 2020

Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

Job 38:33


In today’s scripture, God and Job are having a conversation.  We remember Job – a good man who was visited, seemingly unfairly, by disease, loss, and financial ruin.  Job asks for a hearing before God, but instead God shows Job the wonders of the universe and asks Job many questions. Along the way, God invites Job to look at the stars and constellations, and then God asks Job, “Do you know the laws of the heavens?”  Confronted by the power and wondrous works of God, and his own lack of power and understanding, Job is silenced. In repentance, Job admits that he spoke of things too wonderful for him to know. Job still does not understand, and yet Job enters back into loving relationship with God.

Today’s picture is the famous painting “Starry Night,” created by Vincent Van Gogh in 1869, when he was a patient at a mental asylum near Provence, France.  Art critics suggest that the top portion of the painting may symbolize the divine realm, which appears dreamlike and unreal – just beyond human reach and comprehension.  In the middle part of the painting appears the realm of nature: the cypress tree in the front left, the hills, and the other trees.  These natural elements bend and swirl, consistent with the swirls of the sky.  The lower part of the painting is the human-made village.  It consists of straight lines and sharp angles.  Even though the human realm may appear inconsistent with the heavenly one, the church spire rises upward toward the starry sky, just as the cypress tree does.  Both nature and man reach upward, toward God.

Perhaps like Job, like Van Gogh, and like the shepherds of old, we are called to look to the sky— straining to see the brightest star of all:  the herald of the coming of our Lord.

Carol Wampler

December 13

December 13

Third Week of Advent, Sunday, December 13, 2020

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.

Genesis 1:16
“Moonlight” by Winslow Homer as found on a store print.

“Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie…Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Today we light the third candle of our Advent wreath, Joy. Our world today is filled with so many expressions and acts of hatred and injustice by so many one might wonder, “Joy? What joy?” We Christians proclaim joy in anticipation of the birth of the Messiah who came to us born in a lowly manger under the brightest star in the sky.

This year 2020 has been darkened by the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires destroying homes and life, hurricanes, tornados, and other forms of loss and fear that touched the lives of our Trinity family. Advent reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas when eternal light was born into this world. As we continue to prepare our hearts in commemoration of the birth of Jesus may we never forget we are ALL precious in His sight.

God indeed made two great lights, the moon and the sun and also the stars but He is the everlasting light—the source—of eternal Hope, Love, Peace and Life.

Jesus spoke to them saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8.12

Nancy Foley