What do you think of when you think of Christmas? Hot chocolate? Caroling? Christmas trees? If you mentioned any of those, then December 1st will be the perfect night for you, as Seattle University is preparing for their annual Christmas Tree Lighting.
When I think of a Christmas tree, I always think of a scene in The Nutcracker, where the Mouse Queen causes the tree to rise higher and higher, with the lights and the stars going up with it. In essence, that’s what I believe the purpose of the Tree Lighting is: the gentle and joyful spirit of Christmas, with the community gathered and lights all around, rising up amidst the night sky. It’s an event full of warmth in the cold; a light in the darkness, a spirit of hope.
While the Christmas Tree Lighting has been a tradition at Seattle University for many years, this will be the first year the chapel choir will be singing. “With the set list, we want to encompass aspects of the season…and to invite people into caroling,” says Bill McNamara, Campus Minister for Liturgical Music, who will be directing the Chapel Choir. The set list will indeed include classic carols such as “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls,” “O Holy Night,” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Additionally, the choir will be singing some lesser-known carols, including “Lullaby Little One.” “’Lullaby Little One” is a traditional Polish hymn that captures some of the harder feelings about the holidays, McNamara mentions. “For example, the fourth verse says, ‘You who are mourning, let angel song cheer you/You who are lonely, his shepherds draw near you,’ and we want to acknowledge those difficult feelings.”
This celebration ties in neatly to the chapel choir’s preparations for their 20th anniversary CD. In fact, according to McNamara, “Lullaby Little One” will be recorded for the CD. “We want the release to encompass the moods we created during the liturgical year, so ‘Lullaby Little One,’ which is such a beautiful tune, will represent the Christmas season,” he adds.
In addition, KXSU, represented by Alan Adamian, Music Director of KXSU, will be DJing the rest of the festivities.
With all the strife that has afflicted our world and our community today, this will be an excellent opportunity for everyone to gather, put aside our differences, and celebrate the goodness and warmth we bring to each other. “Angelina [Angelina Asuncion-Reed, from the Center for Student Involvement, who is coordinating the event] mentioned that she wanted to make this a real community event, maybe with cookies and hot chocolate and time to be with one another,” Bill McNamara says with a smile. After all, what’s not to love about caroling and Christmas trees?
SU’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration will take place on Thursday, December 1, 2016 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Student Center 160, the Hearth, Bell Turnaround, and the library patio. Check out the official Facebook event page here.
JONATHAN CHOE | KXSU Guest Writer