Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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The Putz and Illumination

putz1The Putz

As with most Moravian customs, Christ is the center of our Christmas celebration. This is symbolized best by the building of the putz, a depiction of the story of Jesus’ birth. A putz can be a simple manger scene. In its most elaborate form, the putz fills a room. The word putz comes from the German word putzen which means to decorate or clean. The manger is always the center of any putz.

The essence of the putz tradition is found in the way in which each putz is built to tell the Good News of the coming of the Christ Child. It is more than a nativity scene with adoring shepherds. It is the Gospel in miniature from Isaiah’s prophecy and Mary’s annunciation to the visit of the wisemen and the flight into Egypt. The joy comes in creating the story of the wonder of Christ’s birth so that the Son of God can be welcomed into the hearts of the home at the Christmas.

Illumination

Another Moravian custom is the Illumination. This has two meanings. It refers to the custom of putting a lighted candle in each window of the settlement after dark, a custom continued today. It also refers to the illuminated pictures found in some of our churches. The candle in the window is an especially beautiful part of Christmas in the settlements – Salem, Bethlehem, Lititz. History records that in the Herrnhaag (Germany) settlement there were so many candles in the windows that “it appeared from Budingen as though the whole hilltop were a single sea of flames.”

Moravian Daily Texts

04/23/2017

Second Sunday of Easter

Watchword for the Week — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

Sunday, April 23 — Acts 2:14a,22–32; Psalm 16

1 Peter 1:3–9; John 20:19–31

Therefore keep the commandments of the Lord your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him. Deuteronomy 8:6

Paul wrote: Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

Our great God of love, help us to share your love with others. Surround us with your love and allow us to grow and mature as disciples. In our growth may we become the people you desire us to become. Amen.

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