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Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Moravian Christmas

The many pointed Moravian Star is reflected in the window.

My husband's mother's family has been Moravian for hundreds of years. When we met, I had no concept of who and what the Moravians were, as there is just one Moravian church in my home state of Illinois. But I have come to love and embrace the beliefs of the oldest protestant faith: In essentials unity, in non-essentials charity, in all things love.

We spent Christmas Eve serving two of the three Lovefeasts at our church, Peace Moravian. There was no better place to be.

Dieners (the German word for one who serves) observe the service.

A Moravian Lovefeast is a shared meal, signifying union and equality, of a sweet bun and cocoa or coffee. The service concludes with worshipers being given a lovefeast candle - a beeswax taper wrapped in fluted red crepe paper. One by one the candles are lit as the church lights dim. As Joy to the World is sung, candles are raised high. It is a beautiful and moving sight.

Seen through an outside window, costumed Dieners stand ready to serve the Lovefeast buns.

The Moravian Lovefeasts are a popular Christmas Eve tradition in Charlotte.

A young boy, holding a Lovefeast candle, seems struck by the beauty of the service.

All photos: Bill Guerrant

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