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December 20, 2017

Painting of a nativity scene
“The Adoration of the Shepherds,” by Gerard van Honthorst (1622)

Dear Asbury University Family and Friends, 

Complexity is one of the great wonders of the Christmas story. No matter how often I return to the Gospel accounts, I always encounter new riches as I ponder our Lord’s coming into the world.

This year, I am struck by a theme of boldness — boldness in faith and obedience. Through the message of an angel, the Lord called Mary and Joseph by name. They responded in faith, affirming with bold obedience His sovereign plan for the salvation of the world.

“‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.’” (Luke 1:30-31, NLT) 

“‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’” (Matthew 1:20-21, NLT) 

The boldness shown by Mary and Joseph serves as our challenge be bold and victorious in the coming year. As the Lord calls each of us by name, let us respond in unison with Mary: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (Luke 1:38, NLT)

Merry Christmas!

Sandra C. Gray, President