Published on December 1, 2023 by Scarlet Thompson  
lightingoftheway 2023

The Samford campus marked the start of the Christmas season with lights, decorating a beloved gathering place, and a concert from a Christian music star.

Hundreds of students gathered for “Lighting of the Way” at Centennial Walk on November 30 to join President Beck A. Taylor and his wife Julie as they counted down to the Quad’s tree lighting.  Immediately following the big moment, musician Ellie Holcomb hit the stage to sing some holiday carols and some of her favorite hits.

“My husband Drew and I have played here many times,” said the 2014 GMA Dove Awards Best New Artist winner.  “We love this university and this city.”

Lighting of the Way included a reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2 and various activities for students.  Luminaria also lined the sidewalks around the Quad and by various buildings.

Prior to Lighting of the Way, groups gathered in A. Hamilton Reid Chapel for Hanging of the Green, a worship service celebrating the birth of Christ led by students, staff, and faculty.  Anthems were sung by the University Chorale and A Cappella Choir as symbols of the season were introduced to signify the beginning of the advent season.  The chapel was decorated with evergreen wreaths and boughs of various greenery representing the new and everlasting life brought through Jesus.

Incidentally, the traditions of the day took place on the last day of regular classes for Samford students.  On stage at Lighting of the Way, President Taylor encouraged the group to finish strong with exams and embrace the season. 

That was like the wish left by Holcombe, who brought comfort and joy to all in attendance.

“My hope is even in the midst of the hustle and bustle and fun of Christmas we’ll all take some time to make room in our hearts to remember the hope we have, because of the Christmas story.  Just make some space for that – prepare Him some room – to remind us we are never alone,” said Holcombe.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.