Martina McBride recorded one of my favorite songs years ago that she simply titled, “Blessed.” It contains the beautiful lyrics,

“I have been blessed and I feel like I’ve found my way,

I thank God for all I’ve been given at the end of every day.

I have been blessed with so much more than I deserve

To be here with the ones that love me, to love

them so much it hurts, I have been blessed!”

As I move each year from Th anksgiving through Christmas, those words always resonate deep within my soul. However, I always have to pause and remind myself that I have been blessed by God for a Divine purpose. Hopefully, I can be a blessing to others.

One of the most inspiring things that I am discovering today is the increasing number of people who are longing for their lives to make a diff erence. Th ey are desperately seeking meaning and fulfi llment that the secular world does not provide. In response, they are increasingly devoting their time, talent, and yes, their fi nancial resources to church-related causes that will make a difference.

In light of this, I would remind you that the greatest issue facing the Christian Church today is the shortage of effective pastors to fi ll our pulpits. For those who do answer God’s call upon their lives to enter church-related vocations, they need and deserve our support.

In 1924, George Schuler and Ira Wilson, two seminary roommates in Chicago, wrote a camp meeting song that early Methodists loved to sing to remind them of their need to be a blessing to others, “Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing, Out of my life may Jesus shine. Make me a blessing, O Savior I pray, Make me a blessing today!”

Brenda and I want to thank you for the great blessing you are to us and to all of our students preparing to serve our local churches. We wish for you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!

- Karl K. Stegall