Holiday chapels at Life Pacific provide memorials through media, music, and performance art that remind students that God is at work in their lives.
Christmas chapels at Life Pacific remind students of the joy of Christ’s coming while also ministering to places of the heart that harbor secret hurts and sorrows. It can be a delicate balance, but Life Pacific staff and faculty believe God directs their teams to accomplish both with grace and the right amount of celebration.
Tuesday’s chapel this Christmas focused on remembering the joyful elements of Christmas, says Life Pacific Fine Arts Supervisor Carissa Hawksworth. Festive worship, fun community games, and storytelling humorously reminded us of the true importance of Christmas that is found in the joy of Christ’s arrival,” she says.
Campus Chaplain Phil Urdiales spoke a word of encouragement to current students who were joined by incoming Spring semester students during Tuesday’s chapel with a preview of things to come.
Contrasting joy with contemplation, Wednesday’s chapel zeroed in on the long expectation of Christ’s first coming, and our current expectation of His second coming. Carissa says scripture from Luke and Revelation “connect the two events as bookends of the incredible story of our redemption. Skits containing characters from both the time of Christ and present day remind us of the importance of remembering our role in that story,” she says.
Wrapping up the Fall semester carries with it the joys and stresses of the Christmas season as some students return home for a much-deserved break while others remain on campus to work as they pay their way through school. The holiday chapels attempt to address the needs of both groups of students, especially ministering to those who will face difficult circumstances as some families connect over the semester break.
“We are all called to know God and share our knowledge of Him with others,” Carissa says. “When we come together to worship and learn as a community, we begin to see the lines that divide us broken apart. When we find our identity in Him, we learn that we have more in common with each other than we do apart.”
College students regularly encounter milestones that emotionally, spiritually, and physically transform their lives. Struggling through a difficult semester and wrapping up final exams shape the character and values of every student. Worshipping together during holiday chapels helps reminds students of God’s role in their lives, through all of life.
“Chapels provide a meeting place for students on campus to come together and be reminded that while we are from all different places geographically and figuratively, we have a common role as children of God,” Carissa says.
President Jim J. Adams is grateful for the contemplation of Wednesday’s chapel that provides students with the story of an urban shepherd who like shepherds of old in Bethlehem sought the Christ child. “The story provides a new sense of raw emotion as we await the long-expected promise of Christ’s coming; and now await His return,” he says.
Students benefit from such an experience and often enjoy newfound freedom from anxiety and the pressures of living in a complex world. A favorite moment of President Adams occurred when the entire college community “rocked the room” with Feliz Navidad in Spanish and English. “It was over the top and full of joy,” he says.
Moments like these can easily become memorials like those built by people in the Bible after they had an encounter with God.
Holiday chapels provide students with an encounter with God that tangibly refresh them at the end of their long semester and give them courage for a new beginning when they return in the Spring.