Mica Evans | Echo
On Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. in Rediger Chapel, Taylor University will be hosting their annual Silent Night chapel traditionally called Candles and Carols.
Campus Pastor, Reverend Jon Cavanagh gave a brief backdrop of how Taylor came up with the idea of Candles and Carols. Every December, Cavanagh is filled with joy to see how happy this small tradition greatly impacts those who attend.
"Candles and Carols is a Taylor tradition inspired by worship services in the local church and used in chapel to help celebrate the Advent Season," Cavanagh said. "I personally enjoy the energy and enthusiasm during this last chapel of the semester, the end of the semester academically, and the Christmas season all being funneled into a focused time of worship and celebration."
Candles and Carols happens to be one of Taylor's most attended chapel events. Each year, the Taylor community takes this time to reflect on Jesus' birth by singing a numerous amount of traditional Christmas hymns that sparks emotion in students.
To end this special chapel event, the community participates in a candle lighting ceremony. As the lights are turned off, students light each others' candles until the entire body of students has an individually lit candle. They then proceed to sing "Silent Night" while holding up their lit candles. The candles are a representation of the light of Jesus Christ coming into the world as our Savior.
Cavanagh said that he believes that this event is one that can truly spark or rekindle Taylor students' love for Jesus.
"This chapel, like many others, is a wonderful example of the desire for our campus community to honor Christ and celebrate Him in and through our whole lives!" Cavanagh said.
This event is also significant as many people see it as a pre-event to the annual Silent Night basketball game which is held every year in the Odle gymnasium on the same night as Candles and Carols.
Senior and Student Ministries member Gabe Short spoke passionately about this special event and his views on it. Short's favorite part about Candles and Carols is by far the reactions of those attending this chapel.
"I love how excited people get for this chapel service," Short said. "I believe this service marks a time in the year when people have the opportunity to reflect on their time at Taylor and God's faithfulness."
Short believes that last year's Candles and Carols was one of the best attended chapel services of the year. He also believes that this year's turn out will be even greater than last year's. Short said that this specific chapel positively impacts all those who attend as it acts as a subtle, yet powerful reminder that there is hope for each of us because Christ came to save us from our sinful ways.
11The candles and carols is a beloved tradition at Taylor.Junior track and field athlete Walliscia McKinney favors this chapel event over any of the other chapel events held during the Fall semester because she believes it is more intimate than any other chapel held during the semester.
"Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year, so I always enjoy the Silent Night chapel," McKinney said. "I've always loved this chapel in particular because everybody worships, it's not just the people on stage."
Both Short and McKinney encourage all students, parents, faculty and alumni to attend if possible. The presence and love felt during this service is so impactful that it leaves a permanent memory of this event in the minds of all those who attend.
Short firmly believes that the service is something that students will remember from their time at Taylor for years to come, and he looks forward to seeing how the service turns out this year.
All are encouraged to come out and close out the Fall semester as a community remembering the birth of our Savior who died so willingly so that He could be with us for eternity. Cavanagh appreciates and encourages each student to take an hour out of your Friday morning to celebrate with him.
"Thank you," Cavanagh said. "Your participation in chapel makes it what it is!"