Monday Moments with President Bergman: December 6, 2021

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on December 6th, 2021 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Christmas in Christ Chapel 2021, We Shall Go Forth Singing, is now in the Gustavus history books and is archived for your viewing pleasure throughout the holiday season. It was a joy to welcome parents, alumni, and friends back on campus and fill the Chapel for this traditional service once again. Our studentschoir, orchestra, bell choir, and dancersdelivered an inspiring program that followed the Christmas story and was built on the theme of resilience and hope. To these dedicated students as well as the entire planning and production team, thank you for your hard work, your attention to the smallest of details, and your commitment to excellence. My heart was bursting with pride as we all sang the final stanza of “O Come All Ye Faithful” on Sunday afternoon.

Christmas is one of a number of religious and cultural holidays and festivals that are celebrated in December. It is a wonderful time to establish an awareness and appreciation of a variety of traditions celebrated around the world. The eight-day Jewish “festival of lights” of Hanukkah began on November 28 and ends tonight at sundown. This week, here on campus, we will celebrate the Winds of Christmas on Tuesday and the Swedish tradition of St. Lucia Day on Thursdayboth at 10 a.m. in the Chapel. On Sunday, December 12, the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is a national holiday celebrated in Mexico, which marks the appearance of the Virgin Mary to an indigenous person in 1531. South Africa celebrates the Day of Reconciliation every December 16 to mark the end of apartheid and to foster reconciliation between different racial groups. Yule, or Yuletide, has pagan roots and is celebrated by German communities around the world on December 21, in connection with the Winter Solstice. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday that celebrates African heritage, unity, and culture, beginning on December 26 (a special shout-out to Gustie students in the Pan-African Student Organization [PASO] for hosting an on-campus Kwanzaa celebration last Thursday). Boxing Day, celebrated in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand on December 26, originated as a holiday to give gifts to the less fortunate and is now well-known as a shopping holiday. And many countries and cultures around the world celebrate New Year’s Eve as we mark the close of the current year and usher in the incoming year with high expectations and hope for the future.

With colder temperatures in the air and a dusting of snow on the ground, it is time to reach into the back of the closet to find your warmest jacket, hat, mittens, and boots. As winter and the holiday season is upon us, we recognize that traditions are part of every culture, including here at Gustavus. As we strive to recognize, understand, and affirm religious and cultural traditions from around the world, may we approach these multicultural events with curiosity and appreciation. This week, and throughout the month of December, I encourage you to learn more about the holidays celebrated around the world. And, if the snow gets deep enough, build a snowman, make a snow angel, or borrow a tray from the Caf and take a ride down the hill (just remember to return your tray!). Happy December!

Yours in community,

President Bergman

 

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