Liberty student lights tree

 Lydia Poindexter | Liberty Champion
BUNDLED UP — Students braved the cold to see the Christmas tree lit for the first night of the Christmas season at Liberty. 

Hundreds of shivering Liberty students gathered around the giant Christmas tree to officially usher in the 2018 Christmas season, with the annual Christmas tree lighting. This year’s tree lighting was the first year holding the event on the Academic Lawn instead of in front of DeMoss Hall.

Christmas in Lights, presented by Student Activities, gave the student body a dose of Christmas spirit to start the holiday festivities. The Christmas caroling, hot chocolate, pictures with Santa and Freedom Tower lit in Christmas colors made students feel like they were in a Hallmark movie. and put everyone in a holly jolly mood. 

Liberty student Bethany Fowler requested to light the tree this 2018 Christmas season. After she counted down from five for the long-awaited tree lighting, hundreds of phones captured the special moment and the crowd erupted in cheers when the tree finally glowed with thousands of sparkling lights. 

President Jerry Falwell and Becki Falwell attended and Liberty Worship Collective’s Judd Harris performed a Christmas concert after the lighting. Harris shared a debut of his original song entitled, Christmas Forever.” Local businesses such as Rookie’s Cookies, Nomad Coffee and Dawn & Dusk Donuts provided refreshments. 

Becki Falwell began the lighting of the Christmas tree tradition nine years ago to provide students with a “home away from home” feeling since many students are experiencing their first holiday season away from home. 

Harris recalls fond memories of the Christmas tree lighting during his time at Liberty because it was one of the first Liberty traditions he was a part of. He said that the Christmas tree lighting makes Liberty feel like so much more like home and not just a university. 

Liberty University choirs from the School of Music stood on the Montview steps and led in fun and festive carols like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph” and “Joy to the World” to help make spirits bright.

School of Music student and choir member, Madeline Johnson, said that it was special just to be a part of the Christmas tree lighting. 

 Natalie Aidar| Liberty Champion
FIRST — For the first year, the Christmas in Lights ceremony took place on the Academic Lawn. 

“It’s a memory I’ll always remember,” Johnson said. “It’s fun gathering around as a big Liberty family and signing Christmas carols.” 

Johnson encouraged students to continue in the Christmas festivities by coming out to the School of Music’s Christmas on the Boulevard concerts, beginning Dec. 3. Johnson also said she absolutely believes that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. 

What also makes the tree lighting so special is that it provides a brief respite during the busyness of the week leading up to final exams, as the semester ends. 

During the “most wonderful time of the year,” it is possible to become overwhelmed by less-than-wonderful situations. One thing that Harris hopes Liberty students bring into the holiday season is that there is so much to be thankful for, even in hardship. In its purest form, Christmas is a celebration of Christ and the Gospel, Harris said. 

“Remember this season as a time for reflection on what Christ has done for us,” Harris said. “Let that carry over to our hearts in a thankful spirit, that we can serve others in that way as well.” 

Christmas in Lights is only the beginning of Liberty’s holiday season. Find out how you can get into the Christmas Spirit, by checking out the upcoming events hosted by Student Activities. 

 Deanna Drogan| Liberty Champion
ST. NICK — Students posed together with Santa Claus. 

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