That time of year is upon us once again. The Thanksgiving leftovers are (finally) gone and the snow shows no signs of stopping, as usual. While it’s easy to get caught up in all the shopping and preparations for the big day, the real festivities are already beginning at Providence Academy, officially kicked off last Friday evening with the lighting of the school Christmas tree. 

With decorations carefully placed all around the school, the building is beaming with Christmas spirit. And, of course, Christmas decorations are incomplete without a tree decked out with lights and ornaments–which is why you’ll find Christmas trees of all sizes throughout the school. However, the most notable one, by far, is the tall evergreen located in the very front of the school, the Providence Christmas Tree.

The Christmas tree is displayed at the front of the school behind a Nativity scene. Impressively, this tradition has been maintained since the school first started. Mr. John Wagner, the head custodian at PA, is also in charge of putting the tree and lights up, and described its importance before the doors even opened in 2001.

Cones mark where the tree will be put up in front of the school shortly before Thanksgiving Break.

“The hole [where the tree is placed] in the center of the brick walkway in the front of the school was a major discussion point during the construction phase of the facility”, he stated.

While it’s easy to appreciate the beauty of the tree behind the Nativity scene, not many are aware of the amount of work that goes into putting it up. Such an important tradition takes a lot of work to uphold. 

Wagner shared, “It takes 10-12 people to hoist the tree and hold it in place while another fastens it to the stand.” 

In addition to the amount of work putting the tree up takes, lighting it can also be a laborious task. Wagner commented, “It typically takes 4 men about 6 hours to light the tree and keeping it lit is a daily chore that involves a lot of labor and prayer.” 

This year, PA families had the opportunity to see the tree blessed by PA chaplain, Fr. McClellan, and lit up in a Tree Lighting ceremony last Friday night. This was the first time the ceremony was held in several years, and was well received by the community. 

The Christmas tree and Nativity scene lights up the front of the school at nighttime.

Mr. Josh Anderson, who organized the ceremony, exclaimed, “We were so glad to see the tremendous turnout–especially on a rather cold, snowy night!” 

Also in attendance was PA mom Mrs. Lauren Olson and her family, who are in their third year at PA and regularly attend events like this. 

Olson mentioned, “My children love the anticipation of Jesus’ birth and the physical representation helps reinforce the true meaning of Christmas.” 

The Christmas tree is a fun tradition at PA, and events like this are great ways to remind the PA community to enjoy the season, and, more importantly, to reflect on the meaning of Christ’s birth. Anderson reflected, “I hope in some small way we helped bring the message of Jesus’ birth to the forefront of our Providence community’s Christmas season.”