by Monica Mendoza
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Peterson Chapel plans to light up the lives of Airmen and their families and bring a smile to children’s faces with three planned holiday events in December.
A tree lighting celebration, a Menorah lighting ceremony and an Angel Tree program have become annual community events on Peterson Air Force Base, which celebrate the Christian and Jewish holiday seasons. People of all faiths are invited to participate in the events that include refreshments and singing traditional holiday songs.
The annual Christmas tree lighting celebration is 5 p.m. Dec. 3 outside the chapel at the corner of Peterson Boulevard and Stewart Avenue and begins the Christmas season.
“We’ll throw the switch for the Christmas tree lights and a very special guest from the North Pole will be there to meet the children,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Randall Kitchens, 21st Space Wing chaplain. “Lighting the tree brings the community together.”
There will be singing and refreshments and the tree lighting will be followed by the Deployed Families Dinner.
At 6 p.m. Dec. 4, the community is invited to the annual Menorah lighting ceremony. A 12-foot Menorah will be lighted, also at the corner of Peterson Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, next to the Christmas tree. The lighting ceremony celebrates the eight-day Jewish holiday Hanukkah, which began Dec. 1 this year.
“It is not just for those of Jewish faith,” Chaplain Kitchens said. “Everyone is invited. This is our opportunity to highlight a special celebration within the Jewish faith.”
The Peterson Chapel and the first sergeants are hosting their annual “Angel Tree Program,” in which the children of the Peterson community are invited to write down on a paper angel a toy or clothing item they would like to receive. Anyone from the Peterson community is invited to choose an angel and purchase the gift for the child.
“It’s for families who need a little extra boost,” Chaplain Kitchens said.
There will be Angel Trees at the base exchange, the chapel and in the lobby of Building 350. The angels will be available until Dec. 14. Anyone who chooses an angel is asked to bring back the gift-wrapped item with the angel tag attached. The first sergeants will deliver the gifts. Last year, they delivered nearly 300 gifts.
“This is really an opportunity for everyone to exercise an act of kindness that will benefit our children in our community,” Chaplain Kitchens said.