Faculty and staff lead ‘CU Family Christmas’ Chapel service

Corbin Harris lights the advent candles during the CU Family chapel service. (CU Photo by Emily Barth)
Corbin Harris lights the advent candles during the CU Family chapel service. (CU Photo by Emily Barth)

By Matthew M. Billiot, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. –  Dr. Jennifer Garrison, assistant professor of educational ministries at Campbellsville University, explained the season of Advent at the university’s “A CU Family Christmas.” She was among four speakers who discussed Advent at Ransdell Chapel.

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas when Christians prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ and Christ’s second coming at the end of time.

Garrison said, “The advent wreath is circular and signifies eternal life. It is made of evergreen which will remain vibrant even in the winter, a season of bitter cold and death.”

In the middle of the wreath there are candles that represent: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

Garrison said, “We did not have to wait for Jesus, because He came and offered Himself for us before we were born. In the fullness of time Christ came and Christ gave.

“Not by a single glance of the mind, is Jesus always made known. Long and slow is often the process.”

David Wray speaks to the audience about hope and where it can be found. (CU Photo by Emily Barth)
David Wray speaks to the audience about hope and where it can be found. (CU Photo by Emily Barth)

David Wray, the university’s postal clerk, spoke on Hope. He said, “We all hope for something.”

Wray said, “Jesus Christ is our blessed hope. A hope that isn’t a wish, not a maybe not a could be, but something absolute from God through Jesus Christ.”

He said, “We have more than a temporary hope, and that there’s a second advent coming.”

Bob Stotts, director of custodial services, spoke on Peace. “‘Peace be unto you,’ that is what the resurrected Jesus said to his disciples because their worlds were turned upside down [by His death],” Stotts said.

“The only way peace comes is through the resurrected Jesus Christ.

“This season is about us being able to receive the Holy Spirit and the power of the resurrected Jesus Christ.”

Eva Vaughn, data team specialist, spoke on Joy.

Vaughn said, “This is a season of joy. [But for some] joy is the furthest thing from our vocabulary and our hearts. This joyous season might bring memories of pain, loss, brokenness.”

“Don’t confuse joy with happiness,” she said.

“Happiness is an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it arrives to the surface. Joy is a choice. Joy is not the denial of grief or the outcome of a perfect life. You can still experience joy in suffering and sadness.”

Vaughn said, “Joy is the affirmation of the thing that is truer than any trouble and affliction. Joy is the affirmation that Jesus was born, He died for our sins and He rose from the grave.”

She said Mary’s situation could have cost her life but instead Mary trusted God and knew exactly what He was doing.

“Joy is trusting God, when you would rather doubt Him,” she said.

Nancy Walters sings “Heirloom” to the chapel audience. (CU Photo by Emily Barth)
Nancy Walters sings “Heirloom” to the chapel audience. (CU Photo by Emily Barth)

Vaughn quoted Psalms 16:11 that says, “In his presence is the fullness of joy.”

Nancy Walters, assistant to development, spoke on Love. She said that to her, “love is family.” She quoted 1 Corinthians 13:4 that says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

Walters sang “Heirloom” by Amy Grant.

Each speaker lit candles after their presentation.

In between each of the four advent messages, there were musical performances by campus groups.

The CU Men’s Chorus, directed by Dr. David Junker, sang “Jesus Paid it all” and “Mary Had a Baby.”

Dr. Tony Cunha, dean of the School of Music, led in the singing of “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” “O, Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and “Silent Night” was sung a capella by the audience.

Corbin Harris, a senior from Leitchfield, Ky., lit the advent candles. Khalil Baker, a senior from Hopkinsville, Ky., gave the invocation. The Rev. Ed Pavy, director of campus ministries, is the chair of the committee that plans the chapel programs.

Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,000 students offering more than 90 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has off-campus centers in Kentucky cities Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with Kentucky instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. The university also has a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.