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Looking a lot like Christmas on the Hill at LaGrange College

Festive wreaths have been hung and Christmas lights have been strung around campus.

“The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols,” considered by many to be the official kickoff to the season, will be at 7 p.m. Sunday in Callaway Auditorium, followed on Tuesday by Christmas on the Hill from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a holiday concert by the band and percussion ensemble from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Debbie Ogle, assistant professor of music and choral director, said the annual lessons and carols is patterned after the original service at Kings College in Cambridge, England.

“This is the 100th anniversary of that first service,” Ogle said. “It was begun as a response to the gratitude that World War I was over and for the armistice that ended it. It was an attempt to reconcile a world torn apart, when the world was in need of healing as never before.”

Lessons and Carols began at LaGrange College in 2001, and Ogle said it is the perfect way to celebrate the Advent season.

“I was always mesmerized by the singing of the choristers and the wonderful biblical texts chosen to tell the story of the birth of the promised Messiah,” Ogle said. “The beauty and promise revealed in the combination of the two fills the heart with promise.”

Jack Hurd, 10, will sing the first verse of the processional, “Once in Royal David’s City.”

“I asked my friend Stacey Hardigree, who is the director of Young Singers of West Georgia, if she could recommend anyone, and she said she had the perfect singer. It turned out to be Jack,” Ogle said.

Readers who will deliver the Christmas story include LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander; Mayor Jim Thornton; board members, Bobby Carmichael, Dr. Jim Bruce and Dee Dee Williams; student, Presidential Scholar and Servant Scholar Coral Douglas; and professors Dr. Toni Anderson and Kim Barber Knoll.

“We also will be welcoming Dr. John Beyers, the new senior pastor of LaGrange First United Methodist Church, who will read the final lesson,” Ogle said. “He is quite the expert on the King’s College service, and he’s been an invaluable source of information for me.”

Ogle thinks the tradition of lessons and carols is reassuring in today’s world. The service is free and open to the public. Santa and his live reindeer are making a return appearance Tuesday at this year’s Christmas on the Hill.

The event also will feature holiday crafts, Santa Sumo, a holiday train around the Academic Quad, Letters to Santa and games. Funnel cakes, pizza and holiday nuts also will be for sale. Caroling and a tree lighting ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. Although not mandatory, a donation of $5 (cash only) or canned food products will be appreciated. The food will benefit Our Daily Bread soup kitchen.

Later Tuesday night, the college’s instrumental ensembles will present “Sounds of the Season” at 7 p.m. in Callaway Auditorium.