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Lessons & Carols Puts Loyola in the Christmas Spirit

Lessons & Carols Puts Loyola in the Christmas Spirit

On the last day of class for the Ancient World course, Dr. McCreight asked his class, “Have you ever had a religious experience?”  Student answers ranged from amazing experiences with nature and the outdoors, a loving connection with another person, or even just the sound of music.

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-6-47-54-pmOn Friday, Dec. 9, attendants of Loyola University Maryland’s 28th annual Lessons & Carols had their own religious experience, combining the sensory delight of Christmas music with a special connection to God and one another in preparation for the Christmas season at large.

Also available on live-stream, Lessons & Carols was a success in all imaginable respects.  Readings of the Old Testament and New Testament from students, faculty, and university president Rev. Brian Linnane gave insight and context to the birth of Jesus Christ.

The audience was asked to turn off cell phones and electronics, surrendering themselves completely to the transcendent experience.  Participation was encouraged to sing along with specific refrains and verses to establish a grand sense of community.  Even the lights were programmed in accordance with the different shifts of the festival, with a dominant hue of dark blue giving the night a mystical yet intimate feeling.

All things considered, it is the magnificence of the musicians and chapel choir that makes this occasion an essential you-don’t-want-to-miss Loyola event.  Ranging from alto to bass sections, the chapel choir treated the audience to impeccable harmonies and created an overall euphoric atmosphere that put students, faculty, and friends of Loyola in the proper Christmas spirit before a busy two weeks of finals.

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-6-49-46-pmThe horn and percussion sections added extra flavor to an already delicious pallet.  Some highlights included “O Come O Come Emanuel,” “Ding! Dong! Merrily on High,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

Yet, the moment that best encapsulated the Christmas spirit was the Appreciation by the Director of Afterschool Programs and Summer Programming at Govans Elementary School, Ms. Sarah Saponas.  During “The First Nowell,” community members brought many gifts up to lay under the Christmas tree that stood center stage.

Afterwards, the Director showed gratitude on behalf of the recipients of these gifts, who often go without gifts, celebrations, or even much love on Christmas, while also acknowledging the true purpose for Christmas: “I’m here to say thank you, not just for the material gifts… but for the feeling that each recipient will have, holding their own present thinking ‘someone got this for me; someone is thinking of me; someone loves me.’”  Indeed, the spreading of love and joy throughout the season is what really constitutes the spirit of Christmas.

The 28th Annual Lessons & Carols successfully exemplified the Christmas spirit by bringing people together for a celebration of joy, music, and gratitude for not only material gifts, but the gifts of one another.


All Photos Courtesy of Loyola Maryland Campus Ministry Page

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Lessons & Carols Puts Loyola in the Christmas Spirit