Moravian Christmas Traditions We Still Have Today

img_1022By Tamera Lynn Kraft

In my novella, A Christmas Promise, I write about Moravian missionaries in Schoenbrunn Village, circa 1773. The Moravians brought many Christmas traditions to America that we use to celebrate Christ’s birth today. Here are a few of them.

red room with christmas-tree and colorful gift - rendering

The Christmas Tree: Moravians brought the idea of decorating Christmas trees in their homes in the early 1700s, long before it became a popular tradition in the United States.

 

Illustration of Christmas candle lighted with wreath isolated on white background done in retro style.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Services: Most churches have Christmas Eve services where they sing Christmas carols and light candles to show Jesus came to be the light of the world. The Moravian Church has been doing that for centuries. They call their services lovefeasts because they also have a part of the service where they serve sweetbuns and coffee – juice for the kids – and share Christ’s love with each other. For candles, Moravians use bleached beeswax with a red ribbon tied around them. The white symbolizes the purity of Christ and red symbolizes that His blood was shed for us.

The Moravian Star: In the 1840s at a Moravian school, students made 24 point stars out of triangles for their geometry lessons. Soon those Moravian stars started making their way on the tops of Christmas trees. The star as a Christmas tree topper is still popular today.

The Putz: The putz is a Christmas nativity scene surrounded by villages or other Biblical scenes. Moravian children in the 1700s would make a putz to put under their Christmas tree. Today, nativity scenes and Christmas villages are popular decorations.

achristmaspromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

Available at these online stores:

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Moravian Missionaries in Colonial Ohio

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Schoenbrunn Village

In the 1770s, Moravian missionaries moved to Ohio from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to settle a village called Schoenbrunn which means Beautiful Spring. Their goal was to bring the Gospel to the Delaware Indians. Delaware Native Americans who converted to Christianity moved into Schoenbrunn to be a part of the Christian community. Within a year, the village grew so large, they started another settlement called Gnadenhutten.

Schoenbrunn, in many ways, was ahead of its time. The settlers of the village, including the Delaware, created their own code of conduct and opened a school. The school taught both boys and girls when other colonial schools at the time only accepted boys. The students learned to read both English and Lenape out of a Bible that was translated in the Lenape language.

The Moravians built a church there with paintings on the walls depicting Biblical scenes. They used these painting to teach about the Bible. They had church every morning and twice on Sunday. On special occasions they would have Lovefeasts where they served coffee, juice, and sweet buns. The Christmas Eve Lovefeasts were the most special and became the forerunner of Christmas Eve candlelight services popular in the US.

The settlement only lasted a few years. When the Revolutionary War broke out, British troops suspected the Moravians of giving information to the colonial army. These charges against them were true. In 1781, Native Americans supporting the British forced the Moravians to relocate to the Sandusky area to protect themselves from reprisals. The British arrested the two leaders of the villages, took them to Detroit, and tried them for treason.

When a group of Christian Lenape went back to Gnadenhutten to harvest their crops, a company of Continental military from Pennsylvania accused them of raiding farms in Pennsylvania. and massacred them. The militia the militia murdered and scalped 28 men, 29 women, and 39 children and burned down the village.

Settlers were outraged by the massacre, but the men were never brought to trial. In 1810, Tecumseh reminded future President William Henry Harrison, “You recall the time when the Jesus Indians of the Delawares lived near the Americans, and had confidence in their promises of friendship, and thought they were secure, yet the Americans murdered all the men, women, and children, even as they prayed to Jesus?”

Schoenbrunn Village is still open today for visitors and tourists to learn about Christian Native Americans and some of the earliest missionaries in America. A Christmas Promise was set in Schoenbrunn Village.

 

Exciting Book Events this Week

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

I’m going to be involved in three book events this week including two FB parties and one book signing.

Celebrate Lit Thankful for our Readers Event on FB

Join me and many other authors for three days of fun as we thank our readers with giveaways and lots of fun facts about our novels. I will be giving away an eBook copy of Alice’s Notions. I’ll be live Tuesday, November 14, 3:00 pm EST. Click this link to join the party.

Mid-Month Madness Facebook Party

Heroes, Heroines, and History Blog (I am a contributor) is having its second Mid-Month Madness FB Party. Seven authors will feature their books. Lots of prizes will be given throughout the night including a grand prize of every author’s featured novel of novella. I will feature my Christmas novella, A Christmas Promise, at 6:00 pm EST. Click this link to sign up for the party.

Book Signing Event
November 18, 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Come meet me in person at the following location!

Around About Books
8 West Main Street
Troy, Ohio 45373
Phone: (937) 339-1707
Email: sales@aroundaboutbooks.com

More news coming about these upcoming events: 

  • Meet me at the Faith and Fellowship Book Festival, Sat, Dec. 2 in Etna, Ohio. Click here for more info.
  • Christmas Themed FB Parties – Nov. 30, Dec. 4, and Dec. 8
  • Meet me at the Celebration Christmas Bazaar December 16 in Akron, Ohio
  • Red Sky over America by Tamera Lynn Kraft release date – February 11, 2018

 

Early 20th Century FB Party Giveaways

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

We’re having another Facebook themed party on October 6th, 6:00 – 10:00 pm with Christian Historical Fiction from the Early 20th Century (1900-1940). Prizes include a $50 Amazon Card and 8 featured novels from 8 different authors.

Click this link to join the party.

Grand Prize: $50 Amazon Card
Runner Up Prize: 8 Christian Novels featuring early 20th century historical themes (may be eBook or paperback)

HOW TO ENTER:
• Click you will attend the party.
• Share the party on your timeline.
• Comment on a post by any 2 authors during the party.
Authors may give additional prizes which will be announced at the end of the party. Individual authors will post requirements for each individual prize.

Featured Authors:
6:00 EST/5:00/4:00/3:00 Tamera Lynn Kraft
6:30 EST/5:30/4:30/3:30 Jennifer Leo
7:00 EST/6:00/5:00/4:00 Elizabeth Camden
7:30 EST/6:30/5:50/4:30 Donna Schlachter
8:00 EST/7:00/6:00/5:00 Dawn Kinzer
8:30 EST/7:30/6:30/5:30 Debra Marvin
9:00 EST/8:00/7:00/6:00 Anne Greene
9:30 EST/8:30/7:30/6:30 Naomi Musch
10:00 EST – Announce Winners

Faith-Filled Fiction for the Adventurous Heart

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

If you haven’t read all of my fiction currently published, take a moment to check these out.

Alice’s Notions

In this quaint mountain town, things aren’t always what they seem.

World War II widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn’t know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn’t know who she can trust.

Buying Link

Resurrection of Hope

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

Buying Link

A Christmas Promise

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape.

When John is called away two days before Christmas to help at another settlement, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas. Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Buying Link

Exciting News from Tamera Lynn Kraft

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

I have exciting news. I have just signed a contract for a four book deal with Desert Breeze. The first three novels are a series called Ladies of Oberlin. Here’s a little more about them.

Ladies of Oberlin, set in the 1850s and 1860s is about three women roommates who attended Oberlin College and graduated shortly before the Civil War. Oberlin College was the only co-education, multi-racial college of the time, and its graduates were involved in many of the progressive era issues including abolition, women’s suffrage, prohibition, and the missionary movement.

Book 1 – Red Sky Over America (To be released February 11, 2018)

Circa: 1857-58

America goes to Kentucky shortly before the Civil War to convince her father to free his slaves. William goes to Kentucky to preach abolition. Sparks fly.

Book 2 – Lost In the Storm:

Circa: 1863

Lavena, a war correspondent tries to get a story out of her hero, Captain Cage Jones, but he won’t cooperate because he has a secret he doesn’t want exposed. If Lavena doesn’t get the story, she’ll lose her job.

Book 3 – The Aftermath:

Circa: 1967

Betsy and Nate’s marriage seemed doomed from the beginning. But when war threatens to take Nate away forever, Betsy makes a decision to save her marriage. When he comes home with a missing leg and a wounded soul and spends most of the time in the saloon, she struggles to win back the man she married.

Heroes, Heroines, and History FB Party

The blog, Heroes, Heroines, and History is doing a Facebook and Blog party tomorrow, August 30, 5:00 – 9:30 pm (EST). 9 authors will be there promoting their books, and there will be many giveaways and contests. I’ll be featuring my novel, Alice’s Notions, from 5:00 – 5:30.

Heroes, Heroines, and History Blog

HHH Mid-Month Madness FB Book Party