More holiday memories

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Southeast Missouri high school students share more spiritual memories of the holidays.

Lance Essner

"For me, it's every Christmas Eve we go to midnight mass. We listen to the choir sing beforehand. The aesthetics at mass are different; it's dark, it's candlelit, the singing is really good, and it heightens the spirituality experience. There is the procession of the child, the manger scenes, and it's the first time the church is in full Christmas decor. It's cool to see it.

"After midnight mass we go home and Santa comes and we open up presents with my younger brothers. Then we sleep in Christmas Day. Sometimes we go to Christmas Day mass. If it has snowed we go sledding. Every few years we will have a white Christmas.

"On Christmas we go to my grandma's house and we eat and sing 'Silent Night' and open gifts."

Lance Essner, 18, senior at Notre Dame Regional High School

Joshua Sander

"I'm a Southern Baptist so we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We believe He was in heaven as God and He came down to the Earth as a man and lived here and died on the cross.

"My grandmother lives down the street from us -- my grandfather died in July -- and my aunt, uncle and cousins live close by. We always get together at my grandma and grandpa's house. We have family time, play games. It will be a lot of fun.

"It will be difficult this year (without his grandfather), but we know he is in heaven. We know we will see him again."

Joshua Sander, 15, sophomore at Cape Girardeau Central High School

Elizabeth Kiblinger

"My favorite part is probably just the spirit of mass. It's so much higher, everyone seems a whole lot happier. I love the Christmas music and the manger up in front of the church. Christmastime and the Easter season are my favorite because of the celebration of our faith.

"Another cool thing at our church during Christmastime is we have foster child gifts. Our family picks up a name and we buy a present for someone in need. That's also another tradition of our family, and it feels really cool to give something to people that don't have anything."

Elizabeth Kiblinger, 16, junior at Notre Dame Regional High School

Noor Wadi

On spending the Eid al-Fitr festival at the end of Ramadan: "I was in seventh grade. Everybody was celebrating there. All the schools were out. A lot of people were praying."

Noor Wadi, senior at Cape Girardeau Central High School

"Every other year we go back to Kansas to see our family on Christmas Eve. We go to the prayer service, we have dinner, we sing 'Joy to the World.' This year will be the first year in honor of the memory of my great-grandmother who died last year.

"Our service is a simple prayer service. We go in, sing a couple of songs, read a couple of Bible verses, sing more songs, we have prayer time, read a couple more versus. Then on Christmas Day in the morning my family and grandparents go to mass. We come back home and share presents between the seven of us."

Cory Bunger, 17, junior at Notre Dame Regional High School

"The last 10 years or so we have been celebrating Christmas on New Year's Day, with the gift exchange. That way we can spend time on the real meaning of Christmas with our family instead of focusing on the gifts.

"On Christmas Eve, we have a candlelight service. We all get a candle at the beginning and we have the sermon and we sing a bunch of songs. We all light candles, passing along the flame. I like it. You can really get in touch with the Christmas spirit, and that's what it's all about."

Kristen Dippold, 18, senior at Saxony Lutheran High School

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