Ozarks celebrates Christmas season with traditions old and new

Release Date: 12/6/2012

This weekend, University of the Ozarks will offer two worship services in honor of the holiday season. In addition to Lessons and Carols, the University's time-honored traditional Christmas service, Ozarks at Worship will also hold a new service called "Journey to the Manger: A Service of Christmas Blessings."

University Chaplain Rev. Nancy J. Benson-Nicol is looking forward to bringing the campus and community together with both the traditional service and the new opportunity for worship.

"Lessons and Carols is very much a time-honored tradition," Benson-Nicol said. "It originated in King's College in England and has been a tradition in the church for about 70 years. Ozarks' has had a Lessons and Carols service for many years."

"We are hoping to rebuild the traditions of Lessons and Carols into something more meaningful for the community. The chapel will be decorated with luminaries leading the way into the service. There will be the traditional scripture and music lessons that celebrate the events leading up to Christ's birth," Benson-Nicol said.

Ozarks' Chamber Singers, as well as choirs from local Presbyterian churches, will be performing. Dr. Sharon Gorman, University organist, has prepared musical offerings. Liturgists for the service include Ozarks' students, faculty and staff, along with clergy from local churches, and University President and First Lady, Dr. Rick and Sherée Niece.

A Service of Lessons and Carols.

Ozarks' service of Lessons and Carols is an opportunity for the campus and the community to come together to celebrate the Christmas season.

In an effort to offer a fresh take on Ozarks' holiday worship services, Benson-Nicol and her colleagues have also organized a new service for the campus and community: "Journey to the Manger: A Service of Christmas Blessings."

"Journey to the Manger is something new. It will be more of a reflective service," Benson-Nicol said.

"We wanted a nice way to end the semester on a worshipful note. Journey to the Manger will include some prayers and musical offerings from the Chapel Choir and Chamber Singers, along with a short 'hymn-sing,' where everyone can come together and sing some of their favorite Christmas Carols," she said.

Both services offer a great opportunity for the campus and community to come together and celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas in a worshipful environment.

"Attend either or both services to find a meaningful way to enter into the Advent season," Benson-Nicol said. "But, you'll also to find a meaningful way to draw the semester to a close in the context of spirituality, mindfulness, and worship. Both services offer an opportunity to remember, at the end of the semester, what really matters."

Both services will take place in the sanctuary of Raymond Munger Memorial Chapel. Journey to the Manger is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 pm. Lessons and Carols is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 9 at 5:30 pm.

There is no charge for either service, and the community is encouraged to attend.