A Christmas Message from President Sandra C. Gray – Asbury University
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A Christmas Message from President Sandra C. Gray

December 7, 2018

Dear Friends,

As students prepare for final exams next week, and as Christmas Break approaches, Asbury University’s campus is filled with a sense of anticipation. At the end of the semester, we all long for rest, recuperation and time spent with loved ones.

The Gospel of Luke tells the story of a man filled with longing and anticipation — Simeon, who spent his entire life looking for the consolation of Israel. He had good reason for this longing, as the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing the Lord’s Messiah.

His hope was finally fulfilled as Mary and Joseph brought their newborn baby to the Temple on the eighth day after Jesus’ birth. Simeon took the child in his arms and began praising God: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32, NIV)

I love Simeon, because he recognized who the Christ child was. He was looking for Him. He was waiting, watching, longing and eagerly anticipating. We, too, need to carry an expectant heart filled with anticipation and hope.

God puts longing within our hearts, and there’s something about Christmas that stirs those deep longings. I long for others who do not know this Christ to experience His forever love for them. I long for peace on earth — and I long that it will “begin in me.” I long for the end of prejudice and injustice. I long for the basic needs of humanity to be met.

What longings are stirring in your heart today? We must remember that the promise has already been fulfilled. We cannot substitute the other symbols for fulfillment. Only Jesus can fulfill our deepest longings as we extend our arms to Him and embrace Him as the living Christ.

As he opens his arms to receive the Christ child, Simeon shares a beautiful truth — that Jesus came for all nations. His consolation was for each of us. If there is any deep longing in your heart today for consolation and comfort that this world cannot satisfy, it’s because Jesus is preparing you to receive the gift of Himself as the consolation of our world. Do not seek it anywhere but in Him.

Christmas was a fulfillment for Simeon, for Israel, but also for us today, liberating us. Could it not be that God’s Christmas gift is preparing you to see Christ Himself as the light that has come to this dark world? May we all open our arms and our hearts to embrace the Christ Child.

In Him,

Dr. Sandra C. Gray

President, Asbury University