Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

On that first Christmas night, the shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem settled into their normal evening routine, watching over their sheep. Then, unexpectedly, they were overwhelmed and surprised by a host of angels who proclaimed the birth of Christ. In the gospel of Luke, the author writes, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Following the angels’ proclamation, the shepherds ran to find Jesus. Once they saw him, they returned to their pasture, praising God and giving thanks for the gift of the Christ child.

Just like the shepherds that first Christmas night, at Valpo we are deeply grateful for the joyful interruption this season brings — the gift of God’s presence through Jesus Christ. And as God’s light shines across Valpo’s campus, we count the many blessings God has given us this past year. Most importantly, we are thankful for the people who make this community so special — those people who extend God’s light both here on campus and into the world. This Christmas, we think about the people who embody the Valpo spirit, spread love and kindness, and humbly serve others, just as Christ would go on to do throughout his life and ministry.

During this season of contemplation and anticipation, may you consider the ways you, too, will embody the Valpo spirit as you pursue Truth, serve generously, and cultivate hope. Remember this Christmas that hope first lived in the shepherds, in Mary and Joseph, in the magi — and now it lives in you.

God’s blessings to you this Christmas. May the season serve as a joyful interruption, shining God’s light upon you, your family, and all over the world.


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.