Duke Chapel in Christmas Dress

I darkened the doorstep of the Duke Chapel today expectant to see greenery, poinsettias, and bows. Sure enough, I saw greenery, poinsettias, and bows.

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A peek into the nave from the narthex revealed masses of poinsettias near the front (chancel).

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A panoramic view of the nave: Duke Chapel is a “cross-shaped church” with a long isle down the middle and perpendicular sections near the front that are called transepts. In this photo, the nativity is on the back wall of the left transept and is framed in pine garland.

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My favorite ‘ornament’ was the Advent wreath. For those unfamiliar with the Advent wreath (suspended from the ceiling in this picture), it is comprised of five candles. Four of the candles (often purplish in color) are lit one each week leading up to Christmas. The white candle in the middle is the Christ Candle, which is usually lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

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The circular evergreen upon which the candles rest represents the eternity of God.

Also on display in the Duke Chapel until December 30th is a collection of nine paintings by Robyn Sand Anderson that explores the visual interpretation of scared choral music.

Christmas Decorations ‘Inn’ Trinity Park

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The King’s Daughters Inn at Trinity Park in Durham, NC

The Trinity Park district, near Duke University’s East Campus, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Durham, North Carolina. The King’s Daughters, a 1920s brick Revival along Buchanan Boulevard in Trinity Park, stands as a bridge between the past and the present. In former days, this two-story structure served as a retirement home for aging, single women—a safe haven made possible through the generosity of the Duke family and the Sheltering Home Circle of Durham, which is a local, non-denominational Christian chapter of the International Order of King’s Sons and Daughters.

With the rise in popularity of large-scale retirement homes in place of the dormitory-style living offered at the King’s Daughters Home, the Sheltering Home Circle of Durham closed its doors in 2006. The white-pillared Colonial beauty reopened in 2009 as the privately owned, 4-star King’s Daughters Inn. The 17-room hotel also serves the Durham community as a place for meetings, weddings and afternoon teas.

Last year around this time, I stopped by the historic Inn hoping that it would be decorated for Christmas. It was! I returned again this year to take pictures of anything I might have missed. (Staff informed me that the Inn is generally decorated in the same manner every year, but I did see a few things I’d overlooked last year.)

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The Inn consists of an eclectic mix of antique furniture and decor–all faithful to the styles of the 1920s. The Christmas decorations blended in beautifully.

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A wing on the second floor bore a 1920s art deco vibe.

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I captured a little more of the wall art this year.

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The Inn is designed to feel like a welcoming home, and as such, I found the doors to all the unoccupied rooms wide open last year. My favorite accommodation was The Trinity Suite, a second-floor getaway overlooking the Trinity Park National Historic District and offering a sun porch (through these french doors) for both relaxing and dining.

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The Christmas tree and poinsettias on the sun porch of the main floor were classic and beautiful. The afternoon light made the scene even more spectacular.

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The King’s Daughters Inn captures and holds for our attention a bygone era tracing back nearly a hundred years. Seeing the halls decked for Christmas added to its charm.


Hope

Christmas Day has come and gone. While some are still observing the 12 Days of Christmas, many people are looking to the New Year and to new resolutions for health, happiness, and prosperity.

Whether you are lingering over the Christmas Season, looking to the future, or both, may the “spirit of Christmas”—Christ among us and Christ for us, for the forgiveness of our sins—be the source of your hope as 2015 fades into the sunset and 2016 dawns.

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Public art at the New Hope Church Road Trailhead Park along the American Tobacco Trail in Cary, North Carolina.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

Joyous Christmas

His arrival had been anticipated since Genesis 3. The Old Testament prophets foretold His birth in accurate detail. The self-existent, second person of the Godhead “became flesh and dwelt among us.”[1] …The long-awaited Christ was born!

“Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled.”[2]

I hope that you join me in proclaiming, “Glory to the newborn King!”

May the peace of Christ be with you this Christmas season and always.

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[1] John 1:14; See Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, and Micah 5:2 for examples in the Old Testament of Jesus’ anticipated birth prophesied.

[2] Lyrics from Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, written by Charles Wesley, published in 1739, and adapted by George Whitefield.

Photo taken at the King’s Daughters Inn; Durham, NC.