December 8, 2013

The Christmas Tree Lighting


Have you put up your Christmas tree already (if you celebrate Christmas)?

I graduated from a Methodist university and every year they have a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the Friday before Advent starts, which is usually the last Friday of November. It's been a tradition since 1977 and all the students from kindergarten to post graduates are invited to attend, as well as parents, faculty, and alumni.

I loved this program when I was at the university. I mean how often do you get to stand in a crowd of Japanese people holding a candle and sing Christmas hymns with the choir outside? This rarely happens in Japan. We aren't exactly in the land of Christmas caroling (although I've done that before, too). So I always embraced this opportunity to feel the Christmas spirit on campus.

Even the students who aren't Christians (and most aren't) are there to see the Christmas tree light up and you can feel the anticipation in the air throughout the whole program. A representative of each school (kindergarten, elementary, etc.) pushes a button to turn the lights on and each time a portion of the tree lights up, everyone gasps and claps. It's kind of funny because this happens seven times until the whole tree is lit (we have a lot of schools crammed into this small campus) but sometimes you just can't help yourself. It really is breathtaking!

This year I had a whim to go and I'm so glad I went. The regular candles had changed to penlight candles (much safer since everyone is holding a paper program) and the president of the university had changed, but the atmosphere of the program was still the same. I loved singing with everyone to Silent Night and Joy to the World. The older man standing next to us actually had a very lovely baritone voice. It was the perfect way to feel the Christmas spirit in a traditional way.

Hope you're having a wonderful start to the Christmas season, too! x









6 comments:

  1. I don't celebrate Xmas, but I still smile when I see the decorations and ...

    Hey. That reminds me. I haven't been to Starbucks for a while. Do they have that gorgeous nutty cranberry cake thingie again?

    I had a nice Xmas moment last weekend, when an obachan neighbour cut a few branches off a holly bush in her garden for me. Now I have a glass (coz I don't have fancy flower vases) full of cheerful red berries in my living room. Lovely. ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're referring to the Cranberry Bliss Bar? In that case, yes they do have it! :D

      Aw you have a nice obachan neighbor! How sweet. Some of my neighbors have wreaths on their doors so I made a miniature one last week...but then I realized that my front door doesn't have a hook or anything to hang it on. So it's actually inside my apartment. I hope that's not bad luck...haha.

      Delete
  2. What a huge tree! And what a large crowd!

    We put our Christmas tree up a few weeks ago (actually, right after Thanksgiving) because I couldn't wait. It's taller than I am so it's kind of big in Japanese standards. Although it could use another foot or two in my opinion ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is huge in Japanese standards, Miwa! Pictures please!

      I miss the "real" trees we used to buy at the market back in the states...I mean, they made a huge mess but it always smelled amazing! :D

      Delete
  3. No wonder you know about the farmer’s market at United Nations University across the street.

    Ah, the fragrance of Christmas trees! And every few days pulling away a little of the white cloth at the base of the tree, being careful of the wrapped Christmas presents that seemed to multiply as Christmas Day neared, and filling the tree stand with water while trying to avoid the sticky sap where the clamps gouged into the trunk. Our stand looked a little like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it wasn't there when I was a student but I took a couple of classes there this summer and had a chance to stop by the farmers market! :D

      Your Christmas tree sounds lovely!

      Delete