By Alexis Cavanaugh (sophomore psychology major)
When school starts in August, it always seems that it will take forever to get to this point, but it feels like it comes faster and faster every year. As the month of December rolls around, so does the end of the fall semester. During this time of year, students are turning in their last assignments, staying up late studying, working and gearing up for finals week.
In the midst of all this, it can be hard to remember what the Christmas season is truly all about: celebrating Jesus and his birth. It can be hard to be in the best of moods when you know there is a big project due the next day and you have limited time to get it done. However, that feeling never seems to last long on campus.
This is my second year here and each December has been one to remember. Last year being my freshman year, I remember feeling so scared for my first finals week of college. Thinking back now, the professors, staff and my friends made it so much better by the thoughtful cards, gifts, treats and encouraging words they gave to me. I remember my RA writing encouraging words on our bathroom mirror and saying, “You can do it – it’s almost break!” each time I saw her. Whether she knew it or not, that really meant a lot.
I aremember the sweet cards I received from fellow floor mates and staff wishing me a Merry Christmas and encouraging me to stay focused and study hard. Decorating cookies and singing Christmas songs by the Stevens Center are also some of my favorite activates. There’s something about gathering together with your peers and singing songs about Jesus that warms the heart, but what really impacted me the most was how thoughtful the professors were during finals week. In almost every class, the professor brought hot chocolate or cookies to have during the final. It may seem small, but it just made taking each final a little bit easier.
This year I have felt the same Christmas spirit on campus. This last week was finals week and it was definitely packed for me. I was very stressed about a couple of my finals and being really tired wasn’t helping that. Once again, that feeling didn’t last long. Everyone was always checking in and speaking encouraging words to one another. I saw lots of friends making and delivering very thoughtful Christmas cards and small gifts that brought smiles to people’s faces. During my last step aerobics class we even listened to Christmas music! During the last chapel of the semester, we gathered and sang Christmas songs while enjoying some cocoa and cookies. A beautiful message about the birth of Jesus followed; the chapel that night was one of my favorites.
I am amazed at just how much the Christmas spirit is on campus and how God’s love just flows through the people here. I feel so blessed to be at George Fox and I love that even during one of the most stressful weeks of the year, you can still be joyful and see God’s love through the people around you.