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.

Two-Cent Tuesday: Master of Human History

Early voting for the 2012 presidential election is afoot is many states across the U.S.  My two cents: take advantage of it!  I did. It’s a great way to “redeem the time,” Christian-speak for using your time wisely. (For me, there was virtually no waiting in line.)

Regardless of whether you vote early or on election day, here’s a voting news flash: Your candidate will either win or he won’t.  (How’s that for sage wisdom and foresight?)  I remember when Clinton won his first term.  I thought the sky was falling.  But the sun rose and set without missing its mark – for eight years.  Why?  Because there is Someone Greater intimately in charge of every aspect of life.  You can take comfort in this, not as a crutch but as a reality.

A simple perusal of 1 and 2 Kings in the Old Testament reveals that God sovereignly placed (very few) good kings and (many) bad kings over His people, the Jews.  Ultimately, this was designed for their good and His glory.  As for pagan nations?  God seated their leaders, too.  Let’s face it, it’s His show, like it or not.

Here’s what Daniel, a God-fearing chief prefect in “liberal” Babylon around 600BC, says about God’s sovereignty in Daniel 2:20-21:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”

Today’s two cents, in summary?  “God is the master of human history.”[1]  I encourage you to cast your vote wisely – and early, if you can.  God is in control.  In God we can trust.


[1] Lutheran Study Bible commentary, 1399.