During this time of year, college students can be found cramming for finals and anxiously anticipating break.
In contrast, a service in the Wartburg Chapel offers students the chance to find rest and peace while preparing for the holiday season, Rev. Ramona Bouzard said.
Candlelight Vespers will be held Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
Prelude music will begin about 15 minutes before the service.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to sit back and really enter into their preparation for Christmas,” Bouzard said.
The service will include student music performances by both individuals and small groups.
Psalm 149 will also be celebrating through dance.
The Flute Choir, under the direction of Dominique Cawley, will play.
Although members of the community are welcome to attend, Bouzard said the focus this year is especially on the students.
“Students can come to Candlelight Vespers, forget about everything else they have to do during the week and feel at peace,” Bouzard said.
The service will last less than an hour.
Bouzard said in the past as many as 300 people have attended, although it is more common to have around 200 people.
Candlelight Vespers is different from other Christmas or Advent services on campus, such as Christmas with Wartburg, Bouzard said.
It includes a homily and scripture reading.
The congregation is more integrated into the program than others that take place, she said.
“It doesn’t take the place of other worship people are going to have during the rest of Christmas. It’s a time in our community where we get to center ourselves and look for hope,” Bouzard said.
She added one of her favorite parts of Candlelight Vespers is at the end when everyone lights candles and sings “Silent Night.”
The service is a long-standing tradition, Bouzard said.
The celebration has even preceded the existence of the Chapel on campus, she said.
It used to be held in Neumann Auditorium before the Chapel was built.