Good friends, warm cookies, hot chocolate, a jolly Iggy Claus… what better place to reflect on my journey as an LMU student than by attending ASLMU’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting during this special time?
As I strolled down palm walk, I was once again greeted by the usual stunning decorations – rows of palm trees strung with twinkly lights, giant illuminated snowflakes fluttering on the front of the Malone building, and a bit of falling snow to help transform LMU campus into a winter wonderland for the evening. I looked in awe at all the smiling faces in the crowd – not only of students, but of families from the community too!
Then it hit me. This was to be my final time attending the lighting as an undergraduate student. What has become a tradition for me each year during the holiday season has now come full circle. Following this realization and eager to make the most of the event, my friends and I grabbed a free slice of Fresh Brothers pizza and a gorgeous ASLMU mug before heading to the ceremony. We joined the spirited crowd in singing along to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” before snapping photos and listening to tunes sung by the lovely LMU chorale. During the prayer recited by the hosts, I reminisced about my growth not only as a student, but as a person throughout these four years. I attended each lighting event stronger, more confident in my abilities, and hopeful for the future.
For the past three years, I’ve attended the lighting with and without friends, during times of joy and loss, but have always left the event with a sense of belonging. I believe this event is representative of the final portion of LMU’s mission statement: the service of faith and the promotion of justice. The community bond that LMU manages to foster year after year and their ability to bring together people from all walks of life is astonishing— I feel so grateful to be able to take part in such a beautiful tradition and celebration of faith. I look forward to attending the tree lighting event as an alumna to rejoice in the harmonious choir, experience the everlasting spirit of joy, and have my spirits lifted once again.