Sparkling Christmas trees, ornamental candlesticks, and luscious wreaths adorned MacGorman Chapel as the Southwestern family gathered to worship the Savior Jesus Christ, Dec. 4, for the final chapel service of the fall semester. Musicians provided a taste of the coming “Carols at Christmas” concert with their musical praise of the Lord, three families took the stage to publicly share their holiday traditions, and Interim President D. Jeffrey Bingham preached from John 1 on the question, “What child is this?” 

The three families represented students, faculty and staff. The Ranaivoarisoa family—Ph.D. student Mandimby Ranaivoarisoa along with his wife and child—represented students and shared their tradition of attending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning church services in their native Madagascar. 

The family of Madison Grace, associate professor of Baptist history and theology, represented faculty. Grace and his wife and their three sons related how they read the Christmas story from Luke 2 each Christmas morning before opening presents. 

Finally, the Robinson family—sisters Glory Joy, Mercy, Kathy Grace, and Abigail—represented staff (Glory Joy, Mercy, and Kathy Grace all work for the seminary and study at Scarborough College). They shared how they used Christmas caroling as a witness to non-Christians while growing up on the mission field. 

Beyond cultivating in the chapel audience an eager anticipation for their own upcoming holiday plans, these testimonies paved the way for Bingham to pose a question worthy of consideration during the holiday season. Specifically, “What child is this, whom we have gathered this morning to worship and to adore? What child is this, for whom, this Christmas season, once again, we will embark upon all our family traditions? 

“What child is this, that an entire season is oriented around giving to notice to Him? What child is this?”

Following his exposition of John 1:1-17, Bingham answered, “He is the eternal God. He is the Son of God, who has been with the Father from before all eternity. He is the Son of God, who shares with the Father the omniscience of the Father, the omnipotence of the Father, the omnipresence of the Father, the eternality of the Father. He is the one who shares with the Father the omni-benevolence of the Father. He is the one who is the fountainhead of life, and without whom nothing would exist. 

“He is the image of the invisible God. By Him all things are created, and for Him all things are created. He is the head of the church. He is the head of this seminary. He is the beginning and the end. He should have first place in everything. He is the light of the world. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Almighty One. He is mighty God. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the bread of life. He is the chief cornerstone. 

“He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is Immanuel, God with us.”

Bingham concluded the chapel service with this benediction: “May you glorify God in the highest. May He grant you peace on earth. And may His favor rest upon you. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit—amen. Merry Christmas.”