Shawn Fisher (he/him/his) is a husband to his wife Linda of 25 years, a father to his 22-year-old son Garrett and the Pastor and Teacher at Bloomfield Congregational Church in Bloomfield, CT. 

Scripture: Isaiah 9:1-2 (NRSV)

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2 The people who walked in darkness
   have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
   on them light has shined.

Reflection: Christmas Is Just Beginning…


If you’ve entered any retail store recently, you may have seen “Christmas” coming down. Things discounted. Shelves shifting to Valentine's Day.

I don’t buy into that way of thinking. Why? Because, this is part of a world that gets it all backwards.

Christmas isn’t over. Christmas is just beginning…

This photograph was taken by my friend Dan Mullen. Beyond the stunning photography, I see a beautiful message.

I see us, you and me, in the moment, close to that tree – feeling the chill of the snow on our feet and the crisp air in our lungs. I see us looking out. A journey awaits us. We have a glimpse of where we are being called, but can’t see all of the details of what lies ahead. It’s kind of far, but not impossibly so. There are obstacles, but none that cannot be overcome.

Most importantly, there is a light – a light that is both clearly present for us now, even as it also sheds light on the journey ahead. It is a light that calls us forward – out of our comfort zones and into something new but important – challenging but definitely beautiful.

So, as the decorations come down and the next (more important) steps of Christmas begin, know that you are not alone. Because, on the other side of that tree, in the field just beyond, people are gathering. Fellow followers, all ready to take that journey, with you and with me.

Let the journey begin...

Peace and Merry Christmas, Shawn


God of light and gathering – as we move from one season to another, help us retain all of the best of what Advent, Christmas and Epiphany offer us. Help us remember to follow the light together – knowing we don’t need to see the entire path, we just need to trust you, and follow that light… together.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war.
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the over ~1,370 gun violence deaths that happened in the US since the start of the new year.
  • For our lay leaders and those looking to fill key positions within their church.
  • For those looking for the light.

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

This Week in History:

January 18, 1919 (104 years ago): Leaders of the victorious Allied powers meet in Paris, France, to begin the long, complicated negotiations that would officially mark the end of the First World War. [History

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

Starting With Scripture is a weekly devotional and prayer request of the
Southern New England Conference, UCC.
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Marlen Gasdia-Cochrane, Editor