Events to herald Christmas season

Events to herald Christmas season

Nov. 22, 2013

Christmas on the Hill The holiday season is just around the corner, and the college is ready to usher it in with music, scripture, fun, snow – and reindeer.

The annual Christmas on the Hill will be 5-8 p.m. Dec. 3, and the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in Callaway Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public.

Meabh Carlin, one of the readers in this year’s Service of Lessons and Carols, knows firsthand that God can do the impossible.

Meabh (pronounced Maeve) is an international student from Craigavon, Ireland. In 2011, she was attending a World Youth Day in Madrid when she was hit by a taxi and suffered severe injuries to her pelvis, groin, knees, heels and spine.

Doctors told her she would never walk again, a crushing blow to a young woman who had once dreamed of being a prima ballerina.

After spending almost two months in the hospital and 1½ years in a wheelchair while learning to walk again, the 21-year-old now is studying in America and running on the college’s cross country team. She is pursuing a degree in education and will be traveling to Peru in May for a mission trip. Throughout everything, Meabh has given praise to God.

“It’s been a wonderful journey of self-discovery and growth,” she said. “I’ve learned to love a life without limits, a life God has planned for me.”

When Choral Director Debbie Ogle asked Meabh to be a guest reader during this year’s Lessons and Carols, she said she had the perfect scripture passage for the young woman.

“She will be reading Luke 1: 26-38, when Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her she will have a baby, the Son of God,” Ogle said. “She is reminded that ‘with God, nothing shall be impossible’ and Mary answers, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ That is Meabh’s story, as well.”

Celebrating its 10th year, the Service of Carols and Lessons has become a treasured way to welcome the holiday season.

“We are sharing the most important story ever given to mankind through word and music,” Ogle said. “Of everything I’ve done here over the years, this service has meant the most to me.”

This year’s service will feature the women on four numbers.

“We lost two-thirds of the choir to graduation last year, and I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to do Lessons at our usual level,” she said. “But as always, God has provided us with new and promising students. The women vocalists are particularly amazing this year.”

Solos will be performed by freshman Jalen Smith and junior Elissa Morman, both of LaGrange. A duet will feature senior Alyese Wilkinson and junior Linda Jackson, who will sing “Gesu Bambino.”

Ogle said the concert has only one goal.

“This service is meant to bring us back to why we celebrate the season,” she said.

The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in Callaway Auditorium. Admission is free and it is open to the public.

Ogle said the event has been moved back to its traditional Sunday time.

“For a couple of years, we moved it to Saturday, but it just didn’t work,” she said. “We’re thrilled to have it back on Sunday, a beautiful and fitting time for this wonderful gift to the community.”

Following a tremendously successful relaunch last year, Christmas on the Hill returns on Dec. 3.

Marc Shook, Associate Provost and Dean of Student Engagement, said the 2012 event brought more than 700 people to campus.

“It was wonderful, seeing people from the college and community having so much fun,” he said. “The energy was electric.”

The event will feature pictures with Santa in his sleigh, Christmas karaoke, a real snow pit, elf bowling, games, crafts for children, holiday treats and beverages.

And, of course, one of the most popular things from last year.

The live reindeer will be back

“Yes, the live reindeer will be back,” Shook said with a laugh. “I can’t tell you how many people asked if we would be bringing them back. The reindeer were a huge hit.”

The event will be private for faculty, staff and students from 5 to 5:30 p.m., and open to the public at 5:30 p.m. The Christmas tree lighting will be at 6:30 p.m., followed by caroling.

Although not mandatory, participants are encouraged to donate a can of non-perishable food to benefit Our Daily Bread, a local soup kitchen started and maintained by LC students.

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