Greetings for Christmas
By: Alistair Brown
My warmest wishes for Christmas to all friends of Northern Seminary.
More and more I am learning how many friends we have! I find Northern graduates and former staff all across the United States and even beyond its shores. For example I was in southern California recently and could have spent three weeks visiting Northern grads, former faculty and staff, and other friends of Northern. I was actually there only for three days, so met just a few but what wonderful people they are.
In less than two years we will celebrate Northern’s 100th birthday. The seminary was established on September 10, 1913, and classes began on the 23rd at Second Baptist Church, Chicago. Thinking about the centennial has made me re-read Northern’s history. How grateful we should be to those who have gone before. Some have become well-recognized names; many are relatively unknown today. But all mattered in God’s purposes. They dedicated themselves to preparing people for Christian leadership, and the church in the US and around the world is stronger for it.
Today’s generation of faculty and staff are wonderful and committed colleagues, and today’s students are equally dedicated to God’s will for their lives. All of us want to serve God as well-prepared disciples, using our gifts to the full, and being effective in God’s service. This is our day and this is our calling.
As a fairly new Christian, back in my very early 20s, I remember kneeling down one Christmas and praying, “Lord, you gave your Son for us at the first Christmas. This Christmas I have nothing better to give to you than to rededicate my life.” I meant it, and have prayed that prayer again many times. It will be my prayer this Christmas. I encourage you to make it your prayer too for God seeks lives wholly given over to him for whatever he would have us do and wherever he would send us.
We are the generation called to leadership in God’s church today. Great challenges face those leaders. But this is not a day for fear or timidity. God is strong, his Spirit is at work, and his church will grow. Lives can be changed, and so can towns, cities, states and countries. We dare not fail. And we won’t.
Thanks be to God for his immeasurable gift at the first Christmas and all he gives to us this year and every year. May God’s great love fill your life and spill over to many others.