Jan 02, 2023 Print This Article

Dear alumni

Dr. Thomas J. Egger photo

Happy January, as you settle back into your normal routine after what has been, I pray, a meaningful celebration of our Savior’s birth and a time of refreshment and reconnection with loved ones!

And a time, no doubt, of some stress. ‘Tis the season! For some, the month of January, and even the Christmas holidays themselves, can be a time of heaviness. Family friction, inconvenient weather, grief over the loss of loved ones, loneliness and isolation. The barren appearance of nature around us can heighten feelings of emptiness within us.

Yet every day our Savior invites us to see our lives, our world, and our work not merely according to “appearances” but in the light of His Word and promises. May God’s Word have a rich place in your new year!

Seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah foretold: “In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious” (Is. 11:10 ESV).

Christ the Savior has come! He has come as a “signal” for the peoples. The Hebrew word translated “signal” here refers to a standard or a banner raised up on a battlefield to rally the troops together in one place. Isaiah is saying that the Messiah will come like a towering, fluttering, majestic, beautiful banner that God will unfurl before the world. And this Messiah did indeed come — for us! And we, who hail from various nations, races and tribes, have all been drawn to this banner.

“His resting place shall be glorious,” Isaiah says! Indeed. Whether you are restless because of personal anxiety, difficult people, an overbooked calendar, grief and loneliness or guilt and shame — Jesus Christ invites you to Himself. He invites you to the “glorious rest” of His love, His mercy and His coming kingdom.

Jesus has sent forth His Gospel of forgiveness and hope to all the nations of the world. He makes His people and His church into “banners” for others. He uses Concordia Seminary as such a banner as well. People from “the nations” come to Concordia to inquire of Jesus Christ, to learn from Him and from His Word. We have faculty, staff and students from all across the U.S. and from around the world. And what a joy it is for us to know that you, our graduates, are being used by the Lord as His “banners” throughout the world as well — bearing witness to the Lord’s Messiah, His Banner, Jesus Christ.

May Almighty God continue to use your work to lift high the beautiful banner of Jesus’ Gospel before the nations, “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).

In Christ’s love,

Thomas Egger