Dear Edgeboro Friends & Family,
I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year! You can certainly hold onto that greeting until January 1st, but I’m referring to a different date. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent on November 27th, we celebrate a new church year. The seasons of Advent and Christmas are times we focus on hope, peace, joy, and love as we recount the story of when Christ, the Light of our world, first came into our lives. With these seasons come many traditions and symbols, some of which Moravians have been using for over 250 years! You will see a lot of these symbols around Edgeboro.
Let me shed some light on some of these symbols and traditions:
- The hymns and carols that we sing are not only memorable tunes, but powerful messages that convey what we believe about the story of Christ’s birth and the love, mercy, and power he shows in his life.
- The beeswax candles have many symbolic features. The flame represents the Light of the world breaking into the darkness. The purity of the beeswax represents Christ’s purity. As the candle burns, it grows shorter, giving its life for the flame in the same way that Christ gave his life so that we may have eternal life. Years ago, after a candlelight service, people would try to keep their candle lit until they got home so they could share the flame in their homes as a gesture of their willingness to share the light of Christ with those around them.
- After hundreds of years in many churches, the Advent wreath is still a meaningful way to focus our attention in worship on the hope, peace, joy, and love Jesus offers to us throughout our entire lives.
- Though it began as a German geometry lesson in the 1800s and can be seen all over Bethlehem today in all seasons, the Advent star has become a permanent symbol of the light and guidance Christ first offered to us in this season.
- Some Moravian churches have a lovefeast on Christmas Eve. Each time we have a lovefeast, we remember August 13, 1727 – the first Moravian lovefeast. On that day, in the midst of division and diversity among the people in Herrnhut, Germany, the Holy Spirit brought them together in such a way that they did not want to leave worship! When we have a lovefeast, we celebrate how much we love to worship, how much we love each other, and how much we love God.
- Since its beginning, the Putz has always served as an important way of sharing the gospel, the greatest good news we will ever know, with others.
Why am I listing these things? I hope this serves as encouragement for all of us to not only enjoy the traditions that come with this season, but also to remember our beliefs as a community of faith that stand behind those traditions. We should not do these traditions only for the sake of doing them. Let us use these traditions to share with the world everything that Christ has done for us and will do for all.
May the Light of the World be with you always,