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Unexpected Sanctuary

Even mundane places can be filled with God's beauty and love.

A few days ago, I attended a Christmas pageant at the Saint Paul's School here in Concord, New Hampshire. The evening was replete with nativity scenes, exceptional choral music, and the sounds of a magnificent pipe organ. Mixed in were gospel readings that offered a full account of the birth of Jesus, each selection presented with great care and clarity. It was obvious that the readers had rehearsed their parts as much as the musicians and vocalists had prepared theirs.

The architecture (English Gothic) and the acoustics of the St. Paul's chapel are breath-taking, and, as the pageant progressed, I reflected on how much the beauty of it all added to my ability to appreciate the grandeur of the Christmas story. Everything that evening—the music, the readings, the physical splendor—drew me to a powerful sense of worship: that occasion when people and God enter into a closer proximity with one another … and something within changes.

I'd like to add that in the chapel we sat, ...

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