category: Advent

Advent Reflection: Day 28

Saturday, December 25

Isaiah 52: 7–Isaiah 62: 6–12; Psalm 97; Titus 3: 4–7; Luke 2: 1–20

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2: 11-12).

With these familiar words, we welcome the birth of Christ! Merry Christmas, everyone … may God bless you and your families on this holy day and on all the days to come!

Gardner-Webb’s book of Advent devotionals is a wonderful annual collection of personal thoughts and reflections from across our campus community. For me, reading of Jesus’ birth from the Gospel of Luke inspires warm and happy memories from many past Christmases. I am reminded, in particular, of the large family Bible that Kim’s parents kept in their Raleigh home, prominently located by the front door and opened each December to Luke Chapter 2. Kim’s family had the tradition of taking turns each year reading the story, and I can still hear those words delivered in their special way by parents, siblings, and the grandchildren. I can’t help but chuckle when I recall trying to read about the birth of Jesus while my then-small children did their best to reconstruct the event. Happy times, indeed! That family Bible has now found its way to our Boiling Springs home, opened to the very same page, inspiring the very same joy.

I do hope that joy finds each of you today. I pray that the day brings you “rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3: 5) and that you busy yourselves making a lifetime of memories. 2021 has been another challenging year, but with God’s grace we have come through it. With God’s grace “the distant shores rejoice,” because “righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne” (Psalm 97: 1-2). We have triumphed, and we will continue to triumph, because “he guards the lives of his faithful ones” and because “light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart” (Psalm 97: 10-11).

Friends, thank you for authentically supporting the Christian mission of our University each and every day of the year. Thank you for being motivated in your actions by the prospect of helping mend a broken and divided world. It is a privilege to be part of a community that so outwardly embraces its faith and its identity. As we celebrate this Christmas Day and then move toward the New Year with optimism, we should boldly proclaim:

        Pass through, pass through the gates!

        Prepare the way for the people.

        Build up build up the highway!

        Remove the stones.

        Raise a banner for the nations (Isaiah 62: 10).

Let us trumpet the good news for all to hear! A Savior has been born! May the blessings of His birth and the wonder of this season fill your hearts and your homes with peace and love. Merry Christmas!

William M. Downs
President of Gardner-Webb University

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