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Dear alumni

A blessed Advent to all of you from all of us here at Concordia Seminary!

Our calling at the Seminary is to prepare future church workers who cling to the promises of God in Jesus Christ, who eagerly await the great day of Christ’s second coming and who, out of this faith and eager expectation, bring the Gospel of Christ to others so that they also might trust and hope in Christ. We seek to prepare pastors, deaconesses and missionaries who, steeped in the truth and promises of Christ and His Word, will labor with zeal and joy and will not give up when the darkness all around seems stifling, when their own strength seems at an end, and when Christ’s coming seems slow.

What God has promised is worth waiting for!

Advent reminds us that, as Christians, we are waiting. God’s people have always been waiting — and God has always kept and will always keep His promises to us in Christ!

Eve waited, but the promised Savior did not yet come. Noah’s father waited, but He did not yet come. Abraham waited. Thousands waited for thousands of years. And finally, at the right time, at God’s own time, the promised Savior came. Into a world of darkness and gloom, violence and sorrow, our Savior came. God promised. Humankind waited. And Jesus came. Conceived by the Holy Spirit. Born of the Virgin Mary.

You tell me whether it was worth all of the waiting to hear the angel choirs singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men on whom His favor rests.” You tell me whether all of that waiting through darkness was worth it, to see the light of the Christ Child’s face, beaming up from the blessed virgin’s lap — a light that dispels all darkness within us and around us. You tell me whether it was worth the wait to behold, in the birth of Jesus, that God has come to be our Brother, our Savior and our King. You tell me whether it was worth the wait to gain a Champion who has broken the power of sin, the power of death and the power of hell. He calls us His own and He is with us always to the very end of the age.

One of our beautiful Advent hymns contains these two stanzas:

O Morning Star, O radiant Sun,
When will our hearts behold Your dawn?
O Sun, arise; without Your light
We grope in gloom and dark of night.

Sin’s dreadful doom upon us lies;
Grim death looms fierce before our eyes.
O come, lead us with mighty hand
From exile to our promised land (LSB 355, vv. 5–6).

Even as Christians, it can sometimes seem like the darkness around us is more than we can bear. The world around us gropes in gloom and dark of night. Grim death looms fierce before our eyes. Perhaps this Advent finds you grieving the death and loss of a loved one. Perhaps you are wearied by the thick, perplexing darkness of this mad world, with all of its strife, cynicism, aimlessness and truth-twisting.

In a few short weeks, our Advent waiting will give way to the songs of Christmas: Christ the Savior is born! In a few more short weeks or months or years, the waiting of all the world and all of history will finally give way to the joyous songs of Christ’s second coming and His eternal kingdom: The Bridegroom is at hand! All creation is made new! Behold, the dwelling of God is with man, and Christ will wipe away every tear from our eyes! God will keep His promises!

What a joy and a privilege it is to prepare pastors, deaconesses and missionaries who will go forth from this Seminary to bring this joyous hope to others! I thank God for you, our alumni, who are shining the light of hope — hope in Jesus Christ — into the hopeless darkness of many, many hearts.

God bless you as you encourage others to hope in Christ, to wait for Christ. God bless you as you hope and wait along with them. Hang on, dear friends. Pray and labor, love and persevere. In Christ, it will be worth the wait!

Every blessing in Him,

Dr. Thomas J. Egger

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