Five years ago, I attended my very first Winterlight. At that time, I was in 11th grade. For those that do not know, Winterlight is a high school youth conference at Kanuga, an Episcopalian Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. Winterlight was one of the most important times of my life and one of the best parts about high school. In all, I attended two Winterlights.
The first time I went, I did not know fully what to except, but I had an idea. I knew about all the singing because of the Winterlight 24 CD that my family owns. I knew there was a service project and a banquet on New Years Eve. That was all that I knew. At that Winterlight, I made a tiny amount of friends because I only had one roommate because Louisiana was snowed out. My roommate was not the only friend I made that year. During the first program, I made other friends and for one week, I was close friends with two people. I also discovered my favorite Christian song, “Prince of Peace”, and the moment I started singing it, I knew the song was something special. I loved all of the energy put into the songs because we would clap at high energy songs and put arms around each other during the slower songs. I also attended a concert and talent show. One of the funny things I remember at this Winterlight was all of the dorky dances that we did and that was one of the best parts. I spent a lot of time with my small group. The service project of this Winterlight was making blankets for migrant farm workers, and I did this project with my small group.I remembered that we honored the blankets at our New Years Eve church service, and we honored the seniors because it was their last Winterlight. A highlight about the the New Year’s Eve Dance was that we sang along to the songs such as “Don’t Stop Believing”.
My second Winterlight was very different than the first, but so similar. At this Winterlight, I made more friends than my first. My cottage had more people, and my small group had a stronger bond. I ended up with seven roommates that year. I prepared to be part of the Talent Show because I knew that there would be one. I think this concert was different than the first because during parts of it, we sang along. The service project this year was Stop Hunger Now, and it was treated as a competition. We packed about 20,000 meals that day. This Winterlight was more emotional for me because it was my last. The seniors ended up being honored through a candlelight service at the New Years Eve dance, and I cried as we sang the last song, but at least I got to attend two wonderful Winterlights.
The reason why Winterlight meant a lot to me because it helped shape my spirituality. I ended up developing a mini obsession because of the event. That was all I could think and talk about for two years. It turned my interest of Christian music into a love. There was something extra special about being around high school students at that event. Winterlight was a nice break from all of the stress that high school creates. I still am really close friends with one of my Winterlight friends, and we still have the special connection we had when the two of us first met. Listening to the songs that I sang during Winterlight are very special to me. I decided to write this post now because it is that time of year when Winterlight happens. I went from December 27th-January 1st and I feel like Winterlight was the best part about high school.