Day One: Dr. Don Williams
Dr. Don “Doc” Williams has been a faculty member at LCU for 48 years and currently serves as a professor of theatre. Each year, Doc and his wife, Phyllis, set aside Dec. 23 as a special night with their daughters, Kristi and Keri. Together they drive to Spur, where Doc grew up, to enjoy the Christmas lights, sing Christmas songs with long-time friends, and gift their daughters a Christmas decoration… so they can deck their own halls!
Day Two: Paul Hise
Paul Hise has served for 13 years as the director of athletics at LCU. With his height of 6’6” and armspan of 82”, he has the remarkable skill to create large and impressive snow angels!
Day Three: Joy Plank
Joy Plank has served as the media lab director in the School of Education for 17 years. Some of her fondest Christmas memories are from the time her family spent on the other side of the world as missionaries in Bangkok, Thailand. They had a 6' tall aluminum Christmas tree with a color wheel that bounced colored lights off the metal limbs as it turned. Joy and her sisters would lay under the tree at night to watch the colors change. "It made Christmas so beautiful and magical! My greatest joy at Christmas is being with family!"
Day Four: Dr. Kenneth Hawley
Dr. Kenneth Hawley has taught at LCU for 13 years and now fills many roles: professor of English, director of undergraduate research, and director of the Boethius Center. Holly (which stayed green and bore fruit in the dead of winter) already had been associated with eternal life before it was used by Christians to decorate for Christmas. Known as christdorn in German, meaning “Christ thorn,” the holly features prickly leaves that represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified, as well as dark red berries that symbolize the drops of Christ’s blood.
Day Five: Dr. Ruth Holmes
Dr. Ruth Holmes has taught music at LCU for 42 years. Ruth grew up on 10 acres of piney Arkansas woods, which her parents called “Ye Olde Holmes-stead.” Each year, Ruth and her family searched the property for the perfect pine Christmas tree to decorate their home. They left it up as long as they could – until it started shedding its needles a few weeks after Christmas.
Day Six: Dr. Kregg Fehr
Dr. Kregg Fehr has taught history at LCU for 18 years, and currently serves as assistant dean of the Hancock College of Liberal Arts and Education. Each year, his family has a stocking exchange, and everyone hopes a “certain” family member doesn’t draw their name… That family member is notorious for waiting ‘til the last minute. He’ll run through the house and grab anything he can use to stuff the stocking: a spare toothbrush, used bath soap and deodorant, or potatoes and onions. (Though, Fehr claims he looks forward to the prospect of a potato in his stocking!)
Day Seven: Dr. Brian Starr
Dr. Brian Starr has been with LCU for 14 years, serving the past 10 years as the executive vice president. “Away in a Manger” is one of the very first Christmas carols his mother taught him as a child. He believes she sang it as a simple reminder that Jesus came to Earth in complete vulnerability for us. “And the only proper response is to love him back.”
Day Eight: Dr. Carole Caroll
Dr. Carole Carroll has taught English at LCU for 19 years. Growing up in the 1960s, Carole’s family always had hot chocolate at the ready for groups of carolers that came to serenade them at their door. Carole was fascinated by everything about them: how they dressed, sang, smiled, and shared their joy. “I knew from a young age that I was seeing soul-deep joy and that the divine lay at the root of such wonder, happiness, thankfulness, and hospitality.”
Day Nine: John King
John King currently serves as senior vice president of university relations, but has filled numerous roles during his 47 years at LCU. His favorite Christmas gift was a Red Ryder BB gun… but unlike Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” John didn’t shoot his eye out!
Day Ten: Abraham Mata
Dr. Abraham Mata has taught Spanish and Portuguese for 5 years at LCU. As a kid, he celebrated Christmas at a warm, sunny beach in southern Mexico. Instead of writing letters to Santa, he and his friends wrote letters to the “Three Wise Men,” who would bring gifts Jan. 6 instead of Dec. 25. In the days before Christmas, Abraham and other children would put on their best clothes and sing carols in exchange for candy fruit or money. Abraham never experienced snow until he was in his 20s, but he was always giddy with excitement when Christmas in Mexico rolled around!
Day Eleven: Dr. Mark Wiebe
Dr. Mark Weibe has taught theology at LCU for 5 years. Christmas memories from Mark’s childhood included waiting with his siblings early Christmas morning while his parents set up the video camera to record their reactions to gifts. Then, they would eat his mother’s homemade cinnamon rolls before bundling up and walking to their grandmother’s house on the other side of their small town in upstate New York. They spent the rest of Christmas with extended family – playing in the snow, warming themselves by the fire, and eating a Christmas feast – a merry Christmas, indeed!
Day Twelve: President Perrin
President Tim Perrin has served as the 6th president of LCU for 5 years. Christmas was his dad’s favorite holiday, so he was central in deciding the Perrins’ Christmas traditions. Each Christmas Eve, the family would see a movie together. Christmas morning – and no sooner or later – presents were unwrapped. Tim’s father cooked on Christmas Day, and Les Perrin never cooked otherwise, so the care he took marked the holiday as an extremely special occasion. What made Christmas most special to the Perrins, though, was the time spent with family.