Biola welcomed in the Christmas season Friday with a new fundraiser to supplement its annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a sparkling tradition of music, scripture and fake snow held on Metzger Lawn.
Staff, students, alumni and faculty joined the program to celebrate the season through a selection of Christmas carols and scripture readings. In a symbolic rendering of Christ’s charge for his followers to be the light of the world, audience members lit electric candles as they sang along to “Silent Night.”
Assistant director of Advancement Events Deannah Baesel explained the importance of having the event within the last few weeks of the fall semester.
“We know that the final days of the semester are packed full of things for students, staff and faculty, but hopefully the Tree Lighting Ceremony provides a space where the community can come together, refocus, take a breath and have a little fun,” Baesel said in an email.
New to the Christmas tree lighting this year was the Christmas Fair, which lined Sutherland Way near the bell tower. 12 local vendors selling baked goods, crafts and other Christmas gifts, pledged their support for the Biola Fund For All Students. The school says five percent of the vendors’ proceeds from the night will be donated to the fund, which according to its website helps make Biola more affordable for students, including through scholarships.
The Christmas Fair came as a response to a survey of alumni and students taken by Alumni Relations over the summer. For this year’s tree lighting, respondents expressed support for the Christmas Fair along with the decision to move the event back to its original Friday date, according to Baesel. The event took place on a Wednesday the last two years.
As the night came to a close, Student Government Association president and senior business administration major Sierra McCoy and President Barry Corey read the Christmas story from the book of Luke, before senior international business major Rebecca Collins, winner of a contest from Giving Tuesday, lit the tree to end the evening.