Each year Mount Vernon Nazarene University celebrates Advent on the last Monday of the fall semester.
Advent marks the beginning of the Christian church’s calendar and celebrates the coming of Christ in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
The purpose of the MVNU advent service is to give students and faculty time to prepare their hearts and minds to celebrate the birth of the Savior.
“A time of waiting and preparation is necessary before we celebrate hope and joy being ‘born' again on Christmas,” said Director of Worship Arts Anthony Mako.
Many students said they look forward to this special time of worship.
“I enjoy the concept of advent and preparing the way for Christmas and the Lord, setting time apart to remember God’s gift,” said sophomore Lydia Shenk. “I’m glad they take time for that and have a service for it.”
Mako described the advent season as being “intentionally counter cultural.”
“Our culture doesn’t wait,” he said. “So, in many ways it’s an honest acknowledgement that the world is not as it should be.”
Student life planned two unique times for students to participate in the advent season.
The first was Monday’s chapel which included scripture readings and a time of worship and celebration.
Freshman Katy Hillger enjoyed the special advent chapel service. She said it was different from other advent services she has attended. However, she felt it was more meaningful as she could relate to the joy expressed through song.
“Most of them are usually more solemn and serious, and this one was upbeat,” said Hillger.
“I liked the variety of music they had,” said freshman Audrey Williams. “They had one song with just a piano and then others with all the instruments that made you want to get up and dance.”
In addition to the music, students also enjoyed hearing the word of God spoken over them.
“It meant a lot that instead of preaching, they spent the majority of the time speaking the word,” said Williams. “I really liked that.”
Sophomore Amber Axelsen had different thoughts about the Monday service. She would have preferred the usual Christian hymns.
“I don’t like change,” said Axelsen.
However, Axelsen did like the structure and how the Word and songs coincided. She believes the hour drew her closer to God as she reflected on the Christmas season.
Students will be given a second opportunity to experience the advent season while still on campus.
Tonight at 7:15, Student Life will host another advent service for all students, faculty and staff.
The evening will feature performances from MVNU ensembles and scripture readings from faculty and staff. There will also be Christmas songs and carols to celebrate the season.