Several members of the Cabrini college community gathered arm and arm in anticipation of the annual Christmas tree lighting on a brisk Tuesday night, Dec. 3. With Christmas break comes every college student’s nightmare: final exams. The lighting is just what many students need to get their minds off of finals for just an hour or so.
The tree stands outside of the Holy Spirit library. The atmosphere was electric with Christmas music being heard throughout the entire campus. Cabrini’s own 89.1 WYBF-FM was in attendance. A station of food and drinks was put together as well. Hot chocolate, apple cider, Christmas cookies and brownies were all of the delicious treats that were put out for students.
Students began to gather around 5:10 p.m. Each student was given a holly leaf that was to be thrown into the fire pit. The fire pit was set up right in front of the Founder’s steps. The Christmas tree lighting has become tradition for senior Katie Pickard who has been attending the event since her freshman year. “I love coming out and seeing the tree first light, nothing can beat that,” Pickard said.
This tradition can be traced back to an early Christian tradition. Dr. Marilyn L. Johnson, an English professor who has been speaking at the event for years, said, “Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’s spirit.” The goal of the event is to build Cabrini’s community as a whole; to bring both students and faculty members together in one sitting. Her goal was met. The majority of the crowd was in fact alumni, followed by students who came in and out of the event. Johnson was thrilled with the turnout. “It was one of the biggest turnouts in years,” Johnson said.
What is Christmas time without some prayer? It is in fact the birth of Jesus Christ. Junior Heather LaPergola opened the ceremony with a brief overview of the service and a few words on the tradition of the Yule fire. Johnson followed with a poetry reading. Those in attendance would recite the verse that Johnson said. The Rev. Carl Janicki followed with prayer. For a few minutes the lighting turned into a church gathering. The mood of the crowd wasn’t loud anymore instead quiet and respectful as they listened to the final reading.
When LaPergola was done reading everyone was at the edge of their seats. It was just about that time. At 5:21 p.m. Cabrini’s own Christmas tree was lit by interim President Deb Takes with decorative blue and white lights. The crowd erupted with a loud Christmas cheer.
Finally the Christmas spirit had officially swept through the campus of Cabrini College. Senior Katie Kennedy was another student in attendance. “Christmas is my favorite time of year,” Kennedy said. ”Blue and white is a must, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”