For Moravians, celebrating Christmas usually means a packed church, beautiful music, joyous singing, beeswax candles, sharing a lovefeast and more – all things that COVID-19 makes nearly impossible. This challenging year gives us an opportunity to re-imagine our longstanding Christmas traditions. MoravianChristmas.org is a collaborative, interprovincial effort to ensure that Christmas 2020 is still a very spiritual, memorable, surprising and uniquely Moravian experience!
You will be amazed at the sheer volume of resources — music, events, activities, images, worship aids, and more — available on this website. It’s all been curated or created for YOU! The links below will take you to the appropriate page on MoravianChristmas.org, where you can find the content referenced. You may have to scroll to find it!
So, without further ado, here are 49 ways you can make the most of MoravianChristmas.org:
- Sign up to test your Moravian trivia IQ or just to have fun by participating in the Advent Trivia Night on Zoom, TODAY! Thursday, December 10th. Everyone is welcome, not just trivia nerds!
- Download the slides for the Advent 1 liturgy to use in worship. Did you know many churches use Advent 1 on Advent 3 too?
- Enjoy and/or download the fabulous Hosanna as sung by Moravians across the globe.
- The Rev. Greg Behrend has written a special song recognizing how different this year may be. You can check out Apart on Christmas Eve on the “More Music” page of MoravianChristmas.org.
- Visit the “Season of Advent Activities” page for daily ideas for celebrating the season, especially for families with children. Every day through Dec. 24 features a different activity, including stories, songs, crafts, traditions, family devotions, and more!
- Watch the second Advent reading service from December 7 and make plans to attend more – Monday nights in Advent beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern.
- Which hymn does your church sing last on Christmas Eve? Bet you can find it here – listen to or download traditional Christmas hymns recorded by Moravians to get you in that Christmas spirit!
- If you are up for some Advent learning, consider joining the The Northern Province Provincial Racial Justice Team as they offer an Advent series “A New Way of Being.” This four-session series features a video story shared by a Moravian impacted by racism.
- Many folks feel melancholy as the holidays approach. Grief is especially acute this year. Honor your feelings and make plans to attend this interactive Blue Christmas service, happening online on December 20th.
- Robert Rominger, a member of Konnoak Hills Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, reflects on light and darkness in these two original tunes.
- Share storytime with the youngsters and the young-at-heart in your congregation using the wonderful stories you’ll find under Thursday’s content in the Family Advent calendar!
- Grab an uplifting Advent or Christmas image to use in your newsletters, Powerpoint slides, Facebook posts, or websites.
- Watch the first Advent Reading service from November 30. These short, contemplative experiences are worth your time even in Epiphany!
- After December 18, visit MoravianLovefeast.org (you should also be able to find a link on the MoravianChristmas.org home page) for the latest information on how Moravian congregations across North America will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Since in-person gatherings are restricted, look for a lot of innovation!
- Discover the many ways you can still have a Christmas pageant even if in-person gatherings are restricted.
- Debuting December 14, you’ll be able to watch an exclusive video of the renowned Moravian College vespers, featuring loads of talented young musicians and hymn-singing by over 600 people (pre-COVID, of course!). This content is brought to you through a special arrangement with Moravian College.
- The Rev. Brad Bennett, retired Moravian pastor, and the Right Rev. Sam Gray, Bishop of the Unity and pastor of New Philadelphia Moravian Church, musicians extraordinaire (!) have a series of great Christmas songs to share. Some of these would make great special music for your online Advent worship experiences!
- Experience the virtual lighting of the Advent wreath, one candle at a time.
- Do you need Moravian backgrounds for worship or event slides? Scroll to the bottom of the image page to find these.
- Opt in to the Board of World Mission’s Advent Calendar daily devotion, which can include a daily email or text with a good word for this odd Advent season.
- Listen to and even download your most favorite obscure Advent hymn (mine is Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence!)
- Empathize with Mary as she reflects upon her selection as the Mother of God in this beautiful rendition of the Magnificat. This special recording features Sophie Garcia, a young member of Unity Moravian Church. The song or video may be used in Advent services.
- During this time of social distancing and COVID-19 protocols, some congregations may opt for outdoor services. Here are a few ideas for making those especially meaningful this Advent season.
- Beginning at midnight on December 24, visit the home page or watch social media for a link to A Moravian Christmas Marathon . . . a very special YouTube playlist featuring HOURS of exclusive Moravian content. We guarantee this will get you in the Christmas spirit!
- Listen as Sarah Durham, John G. Rights, Adam Goodrich and Zach Dease (Southern Province ministry leaders) sing a few Bluegrass versions of some Christmas standards. These make great worship preludes and postludes!
- Learn about and maybe even make your own Moravian star.
- Watch and be amazed by the Best Zoom Christmas Pageant Ever! This interprovincial, intergenerational, completely fun pageant premieres on December 18th and features a variety of Moravians dramatizing in a totally unique way the greatest story ever told. Visit the home page after the 18th to find that link.
- You’ll catch a bit of Ancient history (Ancient Unity, that is) when you listen to Reserved Parking’s version of God’s Own Son, Most Holy, also known as Once He Came in Blessing. The words to this modern take on an Advent classic were written by Jan Roh, one of the first bishops of the Ancient Unity, in the mid 1500s.
- On December 25, be sure to watch the Advent Readings Service for that day. You’ll be able to sing all your favorite Christmas songs!
- Don’t miss your chance to learn some new Christmas songs by checking out the fun options for Wednesday on our Family Advent Calendar.
- Want to learn more about the Moravian classic Morning Star? Watch this video from the Moravian Music Foundation – Scroll to the middle of this page to watch About Morning Star O Cheering Sight.
- Speaking of Morning Star, ever heard it sung by just young men? Catch Second Valley’s version. This dynamic group sounds a lot like The Avett Brothers but they hail from Friedland Moravian Church!
- Print and/or download the Advent 2 liturgy from the Moravian Book of Worship, for use in worship in a variety of ways.
- Get creative with your Advent wreath. Lots of inspiration, a history of this tradition, as well as readings for each Sunday in Advent are available on this page.
- You can tell by now there is a LOT of great music written or performed by Moravians on this site. Want to listen to it ALL AT ONCE? Visit this page and this page and you can hear these great songs in playlist format. Just click PLAY and enjoy!
- Listen to the Christmas story as reenacted and retold by Rebecca Craver and Theodore O’Connor from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
- Find the perfect image of a Moravian star or beeswax candle to use on your homemade Christmas cards.
- Read about the tradition of the Moravian putz, the lit miniature nativity scenes popular in homes many years ago and seen in many modern Moravian churches too.
- Experience the Christmas liturgy by playing the audio files found on this page, recorded at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, PA.
- Meditate on God’s presence and what it means to wait in stillness while listening to Come Light Our Hearts, a simple, lovely Advent lullaby performed by Reserved Parking, a worship band from Unity Moravian Church in Lewisville, NC.
- Reserve time beginning on New Year’s Eve to experience the New Year’s Advent Reading service, part of the Journey through Advent series.
- The Rev. Nasal Ephraim (of Redeemer Moravian Church in Philadelphia, PA) has prepared a series of lovely devotionals reflecting on Christmas Near and Far. Visit these dates on our Family Advent calendar to read them: Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21.
- Did you know you can follow the Moravian Music Foundation on Spotify? Scroll to the bottom of this page for a shortcut to their Moravian Christmas playlist.
- Pick your favorite from among the many unique lyric videos and share it by emailing the link to your congregants and/or friends.
- Looking for fun Advent craft ideas? Check out the Saturday activities on the Family Advent Calendar – you can work together to make Advent prayer bags, a graham cracker nativity, or a fan Christmas tree.
- When she’s not working for IBOC, Jill Bruckart is a talented songwriter. You can listen to or download Light in the Darkness on the More Music page.
- Don’t wait another minute to hear Good Christian Friends, Rejoice with a banjo.
- What did I miss? Because new content is posted almost daily, you’d better go back through to see what might have been added to MoravianChristmas.org since your last visit.
- Did you find some things in this list that you really enjoyed? That got you into the Advent spirit? Then send those MoravianChristmas.org links out via email or on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) so others can enjoy this great Moravian Christmas content!
We Moravians share a strong desire to continue the Christmas traditions we know and love. We also know we can create new approaches to celebrating these special seasons.
In August, a group began imagining what a Moravian Christmas might look like in this age of physical distancing, virtual worship and limited singing options. Their goal? To ensure that Christmas 2020 is a spiritual, memorable, surprising and Moravian experience.
The current group includes contributors from the Moravian Music Foundation, Interprovincial Board of Communication, Board of Cooperative Ministries, Moravian Theological Seminary and Moravian Church Without Walls, along with pastors, Christian educators, musicians, writers, technical support and others from across the North American church.
A special shout-out to Mike Riess, director of the Interprovincial Board of Communication, for his tireless work on the creation, development, population, and maintenance of the site. We CAN do hard things when we all work together!
Read about the Moravian Christmas task force here.