Joy of Christmas

Joy of Christmas

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Steve Bahls, president of Augustana College, will share his message at the 49th annual "Joy of Christmas Past and Present" at Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover. 

ANDOVER — A trip to Andover for the “Joy of Christmas Past and Present” will be a step back in time for young and old alike.

The 49th annual “Joy of Christmas” service will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover when Augustana College students and faculty will join area residents and visitors for what is referred to by many as “the most charming Christmas service ever.”

The service is sponsored by Augustana College Campus Ministries and Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover.

The service begins in Augustana Lutheran Church, which is referred to as “the big church,” where the Christmas story will be read in several different languages by Augustana students.

Special music will be provided by students and faculty in the music department at Augustana College.

Steve Bahls, president of Augustana College, will share the message.

The service concludes with a procession to the small Jenny Lind Chapel, completely lit by candlelight, for communion and caroling. The Jenny Lind Chapel will have an unadorned Christmas tree, like one that was first used in the 1850s.

After the service, refreshments will be served in Luther Hall at Augustana Church.

Bahls, who joined the college staff in 2003, is the eighth president of Augustana. He has written extensively about a wide range of higher-education topics, and his writings have been published in numerous journals.

Before his position at Augustana, Bahls was at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, and before that, he served as associate dean and professor at the University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, Mont. from 1979 through 1985, Bahls practiced corporate law in Milwaukee. He is a certified public accountant.

He and his wife, Jane Bahls, are the parents of three children.

“The Joy of Christmas service remains one of the most popular events of the year at the college," the Rev. Richard Priggie, Augustana College chaplain, said. "Several busloads of students brave the cold to participate, and they encourage their friends to be sure to come. It is the most charming, the most beautiful of our Christmas traditions.”

According to Ron Peterson, Dean of the Jenny Lind Chapel board and a lifelong resident of Andover, the annual “Joy of Christmas” service originated in 1970 by the Rev. Richard Swanson, pastor of the college campus church.

“This special worship event celebrates the historic links between the two Augustanas’ for 159 years,” Peterson said. “Augustana Church was organized in 1850, and Augustana College was founded in 1860, both by the Rev. Lars Paul Esbjorn.”

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