It is during especially challenging times as these in which community takes on the greatest significance. One of the meaningful manifestations of community at the University of Redlands is the Annual Feast of Lights. As a result of the pandemic, community in the traditional sense of the word has had to be reimagined and our 2020 Feast of Lights was completely virtual.
The University of Redlands looks forward to welcoming the community back on campus for our presentation of the 74th anniversary of the Feast of Lights outside on the steps of Memorial Chapel, a service of worship celebrating ― in spoken word, tableaux, song and instrumental offering ― the birth of Jesus. Although, presentations have differed slightly from year to year, the basic theme has remained constant: the story of the birth of Christ and the symbolic message of the star of Bethlehem as it led the Wise Men to the stable. At the service’s conclusion, the traditional Ceremony of Candles, adapted from an ancient rite, symbolizes the spreading of the light of Christ’s message by the twelve apostles throughout the world.
Although we will gather outdoors, this year’s Feast will feature performances from the Chapel Singers, University Choir, University Orchestra, Brass Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. Two world premieres by University of Redlands composition students will be presented, along with the beloved congregational carols, Christmas readings, candle lighting, and luminaries. While the location will be different, the service and celebration promises to be a beautiful start to the Christmas season.
During its seventy-four years of existence, the Feast of Lights has become one of the most recognizable and respected of our University’s traditions. Under the leadership of Directors J. William Jones, Jeffrey Rickard, and Nicholle Andrews, its fame is nation-wide and much of its music has been recorded. As stated by an early Feast participant and University of Redlands faculty, the Feast is “a tapestry of scripture, poetry, music and drama. Always recognizable at its core, it is ever new in the elements and changes that appear annually in its music, drama and over-all structure.”