Duke Chapel on the Duke University campus will hold four worship services on Christmas Eve. All are free and open to the public.
The service at 2 p.m. is suited for families with young children. The one at 4 p.m. includes a message by Chapel Dean Luke Powery as well as singing by the Durham Children’s Choir and Holy Communion. The 6 p.m. service includes carols, the Amalgam Brass Ensemble and a sermon by the dean. The traditional service of Lessons and Carols begins at 11 p.m. with an instrumental prelude at 10:30 p.m.
“Our country has been focused on a transition of government,” says Powery, “but at Christmas we are reminded of an even more important transfer of power, a higher power, when the emperors, kings and governors of the world were supplanted by a pregnant teenage girl and the baby she miraculously conceived for the salvation of the world.”
Time Warner Cable will provide North Carolina viewers with a live telecast of the 11 p.m. service. It will be broadcast on 620 AM WDNC radio in Durham and on television channels across the state as well as in Duke Hospital on Channel 12.
Parking is available in the Bryan Center Parking Garage at no charge. Vehicles with handicap passes may park in front of the chapel. Those attending the 11 p.m. service should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance, as seats often fill up and no overflow seating will be available.
On Christmas Day, the chapel will hold its regular 11 a.m. worship service and be closed following the service. From Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, the chapel will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with normal hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. resuming Jan. 2.
▪ The Episcopal Church of the Advocate, 8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill, will host a service of prayer, readings, candles, song and sacrament at 7 p.m. tonight, acknowledging that for many people the season of Christmas is dark, difficult and sorrowful. All are welcome to join the congregation in this service led by Vicar Lisa G. Fischbeck.
▪ A similar service will be held at 7 p..m. Thursday, Dec. 22, at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road, Durham, when the congregation will gather in the fellowship hall for an Intergenerational Solstice Celebration. Near the longest night of the year, the congregation enters the darkness together to rediscover the power of the light. This service will be led by Julia Tyler, religious education director, and others. The Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m. includes a pageant planned for children. Also, a 7:30 p.m. service will feature contemporary carols and music.
▪ First Presbyterian Church at 305 E, Main St. in downtown Durham will hold Christmas Eve worship at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, with Holy Communion and candle lighting in the sanctuary. Christmas Day worship is at 11 a.m. Sunday and will include favorite carols sung around the cradle of the Christ child.
▪ A family Christmas Eve “no rehearsal pageant” is set for 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1320 Umstead Road, Durham. The 11 a.m. service Christmas Day will be the Nine Lessons and Carols, patterned after the service held each year since 1918 in the chapel of King’s College in Cambridge, England. The readings in this service take worshipers from Genesis to the Gospel stories in the New Testament.
▪ University Presbyterian Church at 209 E. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill will have a special worship service for children at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. All are invited. A more traditional candlelight service s set for 7 p.m. featuring music by the Youth Choir. A service at 11 p.m. will include Holy Communion with music by the Chancel Choir.
▪ Traditional services at St. Benedict’s Anglican Church, 870 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, will include Anglican Midnight Mass, 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24 and Morning Prayer at 8:30 a.m. Christmas Day followed at 10 a.m. by Holy Communion. On Friday, Jan. 6, Anglicans mark the feast of the Epiphany, called “Little Christmas” in some countries, with Holy Communion at 7 p.m. Epiphany celebrates the visit of the Magi or Wise Men to the manger in Bethlehem.
▪ The 7 p.m. Christmas Eve celebration at Unity Center of Peace, 8800 Seawell School Road in Chapel Hill will include song, special readings, Christmas carols and candle lighting. The event will help worshipers reflect on and experience the meaning of both Christmas and Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that begins Dec. 24. All are welcome.
Hayti Heritage Center and Shabutaso Inc. will host the annual Hayti Kwanzaa Celebration on Monday, Dec. 26. at the center, 804 Old Fayetteville St., Durham.
“Indestructible Seed” is the theme. The symbol of the day is the Wawa Aba, seed of the Wawa tree, chosen to affirm the community’s perseverance and genius in the face of struggle.
Evening performances by the Healing Force and other local performers will be featured as well as interactive activities for children, families and seniors.
The documentary film “The Black Candle” will be shown and all are invited to partake in African Diasporic music, history and culture workshops provided by BUMP: The Triangle and Village of Wisdom.
Also on the program are ongoing chess matches with Coach Eric Zeigleer and a sampling of dance and drum classes taught by local arts instructors. Live performances by the Collage Dance Company and The Healing Force will be featured. Rebecca Artis will bring history alive through original dramatic interpretation.
There is a suggested donation of $1 for children and $3 for adults.
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of family, community and culture.