“Now is the winter of our discontent.” First, it was a line from Shakespeare’s play, “Richard III.” Then it became John Steinbeck’s last novel. I (Doug) have to confess, I haven’t read either one. But all of a sudden, it feels like we are LIVING a “winter of discontent.” Between “the Corona,” social distancing, political upheaval, and everything else, I’ve still concluded — living, working, loving, and dying… it all takes such perseverance and resilience!

Recently, my (Doug’s) interest in astronomy has reawakened. I traded up telescopes and was outside, getting accustomed to the new scope one night earlier this week. I came across Barnard 33 (otherwise known as the Horsehead Nebula). As I studied all the hot gases, dust clouds and dark material, venting from this region of crazy conflict and examined the sheer explosion of new star material being flung for light-years out into space, suddenly I realized – in the midst of all these fierce explosions, there was an unmistakable beauty: majesty in the midst of chaos. (At left is a picture I snapped while studying the crazy-majestic nebula, B33. Is God powerful or what? For those interested in the tech, I was using my new 8″ Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph telescope with a ZWO ASI183MC Pro imager using Sharpcap in real-time with no post-processing whatsoever. This picture was not retouched in Photoshop. You’re looking at exactly what I captured as I observed. Barnard 33 is approximately 1,375 light-years from Earth. By the way, can you find the horse’s head?)

2020 has been like that. Many of us have endured the heaviest of confusing burdens. Many have suffered. So now, more than ever before, it underscores — in everything we face, pandemic or worse, we need to persevere in prayer and faithfulness to the Father. And we need somehow to find peace and solace in that — in his sovereignty. We’re grateful for your partnership and shared vision throughout 2020. We’re thankful that you choose to walk the journey of life, uphill or down, with Brigada. And now, more than ever, in the middle of this 2020 “winter of our discontent,” we here at Brigada are asking our powerful God to strengthen and bless you this Christmas — in spite of it all!