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Dear CTS Friends, Staff, Faculty, and Students,

Each month, I have the pleasure of sharing brief thoughts regarding giving and gratitude. This month, I would like to express my sincere appreciation of our many CTS alumni and friends who have been so generous with their gifts in 2022. As we come to the close of the year, I invite you to amplify that generosity by making an end-of year gift to CTS. The impact of your gift is far reaching, enabling our students to study and explore all the ways humankind intersects so that we can celebrate our togetherness of faith and proclaim the perfect love of Christ throughout the world.

During this Christmas season, people take the time to express a special appreciation for each other as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Many take the opportunity to tell the story of the babe who lay in a manger because there was no room in the inn. That manger is generally depicted in a pristine scene with a bright star shining above the glistening snow, but I assert that this manger was perhaps a meager cradle, nestled on damp, cold hay in a barn or out in a field. Think of it this way: in today’s world, the manger would be an alleyway where cold wet cardboard is covering a homeless family, or a manger might be seen in the eyes of immigrants or refugees who have no safe place to rest. But whatever the condition of the manger, the power of the story of the birth of Christ remains profound to this very day.

Shortly after Christ was born, the story continues with a small group of men traveling hundreds of miles to pay the babe homage and give Jesus gifts. When they finally discovered him, the Bible says, “they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11). Unfortunately, we have almost forgotten the meaning of those original gifts – they were valuable because they were their treasures, not solely because of their monetary worth. They were humbly given with great joy to honor Christ—but all too often today, our gift-giving has become materialistic, or even burdensome.

I write to assert we stay on a path of true giving that does not require wealth but only a heart for sharing good with humankind, to love and serve the needs of people living in a fractured world. Your gifts have blessed and carried CTS for nearly 100 years.

Thank you for sharing your treasures. I’m grateful for you and your gifts that support the CTS mission. Because of you there is a place for rigorous academic study of theology, a place for community members to seek mental health resources, and a place where the Faith & Action Project connects, inspires, and empowers our community provide meaningful and sustainable pathways out of poverty.

As we celebrate Christmas, I encourage you to take time and listen to the symphony of chimes proclaiming that the Christ child was born, reflecting on how CTS is essential to Jesus’ message of faith and love.

Merry Christmas,

Gayle M. Spicer

Director of Annual Giving