After two years off, Azusa Pacific Christmas Chapel is back!
Students flooding the entrance at the Felix Event Center provided nostalgia from days past with Christmas Chapel returning. For the final chapel of the semester, it was truly a fitting way to wrap up the 2022 year.
There was something for everyone at this chapel as it provided a much needed pause from the hectic nature of the final weeks of the semester. Snow falling from above, red and green lights setting up the ambiance of the gym and many students and faculty dressed in Christmas sweaters set up for a welcoming environment.
“It was great to welcome everybody here. As a community we could come together, worship and [share] some positivity during the end of the semester” said Matt Crow, a senior student.
Starting with an old trend, the famous skits of old Christmas Chapels were played as a montage for everybody and there were a handful who may have been able to recognize some of them. Chapel services put on an entertaining skit of their own, which was a rendition of “The Office,” with the faculty and team trying to decide what they wanted to do for this year’s chapel.
The worship band rocked it as usual and hearing some Christmas classics got the crowd at the event center to sing along in full force. Even featuring a mock of NPR’s “Tiny Desk,” APU had their own rendition on stage, providing a creative touch.
Trolley Karaoke was another skit that garnished plenty of laughs and broke some of the crowd into song. Featuring Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” as one karaoke song, many students in the trolley were confidently grabbing the mic and singing along.
Guest appearances from Silk Sonic, One Direction, Chance the Rapper and Justin Bieber got the crowd hyped up. With students dressing up as these iconic artists, there was plenty to laugh and cheer about for these live performances.
Another highlight of the chapel was from APU’s Variety For One hip-hop dance group. With matching outfits and Christmas pajamas, the choreography, as always, was on point. “We prepared the dance over Thanksgiving break and finalized everything this week,” said President of VFO Heidi Gebhardt.
It definitely seemed to be a crowd favorite and Gebhardt went on to say how she felt so happy to be a part of this tradition and hopes there are many more Christmas Chapels to come.
Another classic moment was the “Let’s Go Praise God” skit that featured APU students, teams and even Pastor Ta’Tyana Leonard’s adorable kids taking part in the TikTok-style dance.
Familiar with the tradition and vital to the experience today, Leonard had nothing but great things to say about the final chapel of the year: “This is one chapel where we can involve a bunch of different students and it’s okay to celebrate this season and what God is doing for us.”
Wrapping up the chapel service, the finale of “I Thank God,” which has served as the university’s anthem, brought the crowd a lot of energy. Students swarmed the front of the stage and we even saw some students crowd surfing. It was a memorable performance and was Leonard and Matt’s favorite moment of the chapel.
With much more to come next semester, students can look forward to the year’s end chapel in the spring. “So many different groups can be a part of it, the year end surprise chapel is something we want to hear from students and creatives so we can get the whole student body excited about it,” said Leonard. You can reach out directly to Ta’Tyana Leonard if you’re interested or have any ideas.
Finish strong this semester, fellow students, and congratulations to those taking part in winter commencement. Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year!