LMU’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting brings students, alumni and community members together to celebrate, rejoice and unite as one Lion Nation. Students involved in service organizations, Greek life, athletics and clubs all bundled up in their winter clothes to stand side by side in the chilly December air, cheering for the grand tree standing tall on Regent’s Terrace came to life. Everywhere I looked, there were students smiling from ear to ear, friends laughing and people singing carols.
Many of my fellow Lions waited in line for a chance to get their photo taken with the man himself – Santa. Elsewhere, folks could take a horse drawn carriage ride around Alumni Mall under a canopy of dazzling lights strung from palm trees or they could get their photo taken in a candy cane winter wonderland photo booth. If there wasn’t a performance on stage, then there was a DJ mixing holiday classics on the spot and he really knew how to get the crowd moving. Acapella groups rocked the stage with holiday tunes that were just too irresistible to not sing along too. As we all know from Buddy the Elf, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” The LMU Gospel Choir stunned the audience with their range and versatile group of talented singers. The whole audience joined in, swaying and clapping, as the choir sang, “Go Tell It On the Mountain” with all the soul and passion one would expect.
Music, friends, Santa, horse drawn carriages… what more could someone ask for? Well, you guessed it: food! Alumni Mall was lined with food trucks, sweets and free hot chocolate and cookies provided by ASLMU. And if you have hot chocolate then you need a mug, right? ASLMU had that covered as well! Each person who walked into the event received a free LMU holiday mug and Christmas ornament. The joy and fun of the Tree Lighting could now be brought back to each person’s home and hung on the tree, spreading the light of LMU across the nation as Lions head home for winter break.
Following the lighting of the tree, President Snyder gave his closing remarks, reminding us that at the heart of the event lies LMU’s mission statement: the service of faith and promotion of justice.
“Our guiding light will shine from the bluff with our enthusiasm and show the world what it means to be men and women for others,” said President Snyder.
LMU strives to educate students to become globally aware and active citizens. While the event acted as a call for our student body to come together and celebrate, it also acted as a call for students to go out beyond the bluff and spread the light from within them to everyone they meet. It was a call of action, a call of service and a call of faith.
All in all, the LMU tree lighting started off this season of joy and giving with memories that will be cherished by students, alumni, faculty members and community members throughout this exciting holiday season, myself included!