I have lived in Faribault since 1987 and have attended most of the 32 Light Up A Life Tree Lighting Ceremonies on the grounds of the local hospital.

Every year I attend, it seems magical.

For different reasons as I grow older and lose more people who have been near to me in my life.

Monday night it was raining steady when the hospital crew and I were preparing to set up for the event outdoors and we encouraged organizers to move indoors because we thought people would be more comfortable.

It was also better on our equipment.

It turned out to be a very good decision.

The event was moved inside the lobby of the Surgery Center where we could see the Hospice trees as they were lit and the acoustics for the Beau Chat Choir could not have been better.

Executive Director of the Faribault Area Hospice Foundation Rick Miller welcomed everyone and said, "Tonight we remember all of those we have lost. Each light representing a life worth celebrating.  As those lights have illuminated our life and been a part of our life, we take those memories with us and they carry us through and they shine throughout our life."

Miller added, "So we are very privileged to have that honor and have those memories with us as we go through this season.  So as we celebrate tonight let's keep that light shining.  As we go through this Christmas Holiday and this Holiday season let's keep those lights bright.  Let's give each other an opportunity to be kind and love one another and keep remembering those who have gone before us.  Let's keep that light shining throughout this event."

Then Hospice Chaplain Reverend Craig Breimhorst provided a brief prayer.

"Gracious Lord as we wander through the wilderness of grief and loss, lo we come upon a stately tree in the darkness and we hear angels singing.  And the lights shine brightly chasing the darkness and lonliness, if even for a moment.  We give thanks tonight for the healing music. The wonder and hope of lights shining in the darkness has we hold each other in community.  Amen."

The Beau Chant Choir sang a couple of songs with their gifted voices and Jan Paschke read a poem written by District One Hospital employee Curt Jorgensen in memory of his mother Colleen entitled, "Renewal."

The musical selections included "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling by Charles Wesley and "You are Mine" by David Haas.

Everyone joined in singing "Silent Night" after the tree lights were turned on just as we have for many years.

In past years when loss was more recent tears would well up in my eyes.

I admit in recent years I usually smile as I think of each of the lights on the tree being the soul of someone I know and realize they are in a better place and my time here, relatively speaking I hope, is nearly over.

Even though I've seen this so many times over the years the tree lighting always hits me.

Our broadcast of the event on KDHL was provided by IBEW Local Union #110 and Mayo Clinic Health of Faribault and Kenyon.

The Faribault Area Hospice Foundation will assist anyone from the District One area in any hospice.

Foundation volunteers told me the campaign is a little behind last year and you have through the end of the year to make your donation.

The Hospice Tree will remain lit through New Year's.

Faribault Hospice Tree. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Beau Chant Choir. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Faribault Area Hospice Foundation Executive Director Rick Miller. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld