Duke Chapel is celebrating Christmas this year with a series of online services and concerts, as well as television broadcasts. See below for a listing of online events for the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Additionally, Duke students and employees who are on campus have the opportunity to sign up to spend time in the Chapel, decorated with poinsettias, garlands, and lights.
In approaching Christmas this year, Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery says, “merry” might not be the first word that comes to mind but it is still a season of hope.
“So many of us have been through—and even are still going through—a year of separation and suffering, a year of pandemic and pain,” Dean Powery says. “Because of the current situation we may actually be more attuned this year to the ancient setting of Christmas. It happens outside on the margins of society in the Gospel of Luke. It happens ‘in the darkness’ in the Gospel of John.”
“Most importantly Christmas did happen: Two thousand years ago, Jesus was born in a Bethlehem manger with the herald of an angelic chorus—a light did shine in the darkness, ‘and the darkness did not overcome it,’” he says. “This year, we will once again celebrate—though in new ways—the birth of God’s hope into this world. It is in this spirit of holy hopefulness that I offer my prayer for a very hope-filled Christmas.”
Christmas'The Marvel of This Night' Christmas Special | December 24–January 6The Marvel of This Night: Christmas at Duke University Chapel
is an hour-long special, produced in 2019 by the Chapel and campus partners, that features beloved Christmas carols accompanied by three of the Chapel's organs as well as traditional scripture readings. In it, all of the Chapel's choirs and a sixteen-piece orchestra perform music from around the world. It is available for viewing online this Christmas season from December 24 through January 6. You are invited to watch this service online and participate from home by joining in the prayers and singing along to beloved hymns, carols, and spirituals, such as "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "Go Tell It on the Mountain." Watch here
Online Christmas Eve Children’s Service Rebroadcast | December 24 at 2:00 p.m.
This rebroadcast of last year's Christmas Eve Children's Service is perfect for families with young children. As storytellers and musicians lead the congregation in a celebration of Jesus' birth with carols, bells, and a journey to the manger where baby Jesus awaits. You are invited to watch this service online and participate from home by joining in the prayers and singing along to beloved hymns such as "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "Joy to the World," and "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Watch here.
Online Christmas Eve Worship Service | December 24 at 4:00 p.m.Online Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols Rebroadcast | December 24 at 11:00 p.m.
This online Christmas Eve worship service, newly recorded in advance in the festively decorated Duke Chapel, includes beloved hymns, carols, virtual choir anthems, prayers, and a sermon by Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery. You are invited to watch this service online and participate from home by joining in the prayers and singing along. Watch here.
This rebroadcast of last year’s traditional worship service of Lessons and Carols includes a community choir, hymns, anthems, and scripture readings in the majestically decorated Duke Chapel. You are invited to watch this service online and participate from home by joining in the prayers and singing along to beloved hymns such as "Silent Night," "Once in Royal David's City," and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." Watch here
Spectrum News 1 Christmas Eve Broadcast | December 24 at 11:00 p.m.
Spectrum News 1 will broadcast statewide a new, prerecorded Christmas Eve worship service from the Chapel with beloved hymns, carols, and prayers. Watch on Spectrum cable channels 1 and 14.
UNC-TV Rebroadcast of 2019 Lessons and Carols Service
UNC-TV is rebroadcasting the Chapel’s 2019 service of Lessons and Carols with a new introduction by Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery. In this program, you will see the Chapel decorated for Christmas and hear beloved carols, hymns, organ music, and a community choir. For broadcast times, check the UNC-TV program schedule.
Duke Hospital TV Broadcasts
Throughout the Christmas season the Duke Chapel channel on the Duke Hospital TV system (channel 12) will broadcast Christmas services.
Online Carillon Recitals
Chapel carillonneurs continue a longstanding tradition of playing a brief carillon recital with music for the season each weekday at 5:00 p.m. The recital on Christmas (December 25) will feature music for the day during an extended performance. Listen live on the Chapel Facebook page.
The Christmas season will conclude with an online worship for Epiphany on January 6 at 8:00 p.m. This prerecorded service will include prayers and scripture readings for the day as well as anthems and hymns from past services. Participate online via the Chapel website homepage.
Online ‘Messiah’ Concert | December 6 at 4:00 p.m.Online Advent Lessons and Carols | December 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Now in its eighty-eighth year, the annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah at Duke Chapel is one of the oldest and most beloved musical traditions at Duke University. This year, that tradition continues in a new way with an online Messiah concert. This year’s program blends will live performances of arias and recitatives with virtual, sing-along choruses created from recordings from last year’s concerts. The online program will include all of Part I—the Christmas portion—plus the “Hallelujah” chorus. Watch a recording of the concert.
Choral anthems, carols, and hymns are hallmarks of the Advent-Christmas celebration at Duke Chapel. This virtual service of Advent Lessons & Carols features seasonal contributions by all of the Chapel’s choirs, with readings, prayers and liturgy led by Chapel staff and students. Watch here
Online ‘Christian Imagination’ Book Group Final Meeting | December 15 at 6:30 p.m.
A group of ministers, community members, and students are gathering online twice-a-month to discuss the book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race by the Rev. Dr. Willie Jennings, associate professor of systematic theology and Africana studies at Yale Divinity School. Called "a ground-breaking, magisterial account of the potential and failures of Christianity since the colonialist period," the award-winning book takes up the question, Why has Christianity, a religion premised upon neighborly love, failed in its attempts to heal social divisions? To receive a link to participate in this discussion, email the Rev. Breana van Velzen.
Online Sunday Morning Worship Services
The Chapel continues to hold livestreamed Sunday morning worship services at 11:00 a.m. The services include hymns, prayers, organ music, and a sermon. Watch on the Chapel’s YouTube channel.
Online Carillon Recitals
Chapel carillonneurs continue a longstanding tradition of playing a brief carillon recital with music for the season each weekday at 5:00 p.m. Listen live on the Chapel Facebook page.
Students and Employees #FindSanctuary
With so many challenges and stresses brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Duke students, faculty, and staff who are on campus will have an opportunity to reserve time for a short visit inside Duke Chapel to meditate, reflect, be, pray, contemplate, and find sanctuary. The Chapel will be decorated for Christmas with poinsettias, garlands, and lights.
Students and employees can sign up for specific 15-minute time slots in the Chapel on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., beginning December 1 until December 23. Those signing up to come inside the Chapel will be required to follow public health safety protocols, including wearing a mask, keeping physical distance from others, providing proof of registration, and showing a valid Duke ID and SymMon pass. Registration is on an individual basis; it is non-transferrable and does not allow for guests. Click here to sign up online for time in the Chapel.