Duke Chapel Announces Christmas Service Schedule

Four services set for Christmas Eve

Duke Chapel XMAS eve service in 2019

“Christmas is a time when we look to the past for a way forward into the future,” said the Rev. Luke A. Powery, dean of the chapel. “We look back to the birth of Jesus so that we can move forward knowing that God is with us.”

“We look all the way back to the beginnings of the world when ‘the Word was with God and the Word was God,’” Powery said, “so that we can face tomorrow believing that ‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.’”

The Christmas Eve services on Sunday, Dec. 24, are:

  • 2 p.m., Children’s service with Christmas carols, a pageant, and scripture readings that tell the story of the birth of Jesus; the service lasts about thirty-five minutes.
  • 5 p.m., The Durham Children’s Choir sings and Powery preaches the sermon; the Amalgam Brass ensemble and Chapel organists lead the congregation in singing Christmas carols.
  • 8 p.m., A service with Holy Communion and Powery preaching; the Bell Durham handbell choir plays; the Amalgam Brass ensemble and Chapel organists lead the congregation in singing Christmas carols.
  • 11 p.m., The traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols by candlelight with scripture readings and Christmas carols; the singers of the Duke Chapel Schola Cantorum, a harpist, and Chapel organists lead the music, which will include the debut of an original, award-winning carol by Zebulon Highben, the Chapel’s music director.

An ASL signer will be present at all of these Christmas Eve services.

In addition to being televised by Spectrum News 1, the Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols service at 11 p.m. will also be broadcast on the radio on WDNC-AM 620. All four services will be broadcast live on the Duke Hospital TV channel 12.

In addition to the Christmas Eve services, the Chapel will also hold its regular Sunday morning service on Dec. 24 at 11 a.m., which will mark the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Music in this service will include the Duke Chapel Schola Cantorum and Mallarmé Music performing the cantata “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” (“Savior of the Nations, Come”) by J.S. Bach.

For the 90th year, the Duke Chapel Choir performs G.F. Handel’s Messiah with soloists and orchestra. The concerts are on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 2 at 3 p.m., and Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. The concerts are sold out, but a recorded version of this year’s “Messiah” performances will be available on the Chapel’s YouTube channel from December 18 through Christmas Day.

The annual Duke Chapel by Candlelight Christmas Open House will be Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 12-noon to 2 p.m. The chapel will be decorated for the season with candles, wreathes, and greenery. See the beauty of the chapel and listen to live performances of familiar Christmas music.

Other events at the chapel during the Advent and Christmas seasons include (free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated):

The chapel is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when it is closed, as well as these university holidays when it closes at 5 p.m.: Dec. 22, 23, 29, and 30. The chapel also closes to the public for weddings and other private ceremonies, so before planning a visit, please check the website calendar.