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A Moravian Barn Christmas - Lifesize Nativity Festival
Looking for Christmas
While millions of people become disgruntled with certain aspects of the mainline church, I became disgruntled by perplexity in a portion of the nondenominational church. Visiting other churches as well as my own for many years, I learned much about doctrine and practice as well as doctine vs. practice. Sales techniques are still sales techniques, no matter what the setting, so sometimes I just mentally threw up my hands and simply observed. Overall, I've learned much.
Some places, I simply backed out very slowly and left. From others, I came away with something worthwhile. Occasionally, I was stunned.
The Moravian Church
The Moravian Church presents itself as the Oldest Protestant Church in the world, founded 60 years before Martin Luther's 95 Theses found their place on the cathedral door of Catholicism.
At Christmastime, Moravians celebrate in several ways, but one of these is the putz -- That may sound like a Yiddish insult, but it is a Czech name for the creche or Nativity scene. The interesting thing about this putz is that it can be any size and many are small, as we see on desktops, tabletops, and under Christmas Trees. However, they are also traditionally the size of an entire room. One finding that stunned me is that the putz can be the size of a whole barn.
In Delaware County, Ohio, a putz in 2007 and thereafter has been the size of a barn. In the video further below, you can see the Christmas Eve Service of 2007, commemorating the night of the birth of Christ in a barn probably much larger than the stable Joseph was permitted to use for his family that night.
The Christmas Eve ceremony for the Moravian church in Columbus OH at Promise Church occurred in The Ohio Bicentennial Barn in Delaware County. The barn itself is over 100 years old and its farm over 200. As a special project, people painted it to commemorate Ohio's Bicentennial of Statehood.
In 1772, Moravian missionaries built Schoenbrunn ("Beautiful Spring"), Ohio as the first village in the territory that became the state. Delaware Nation tribes-people who had become Christians by their own choice lived there.
Moravian Church in Columbus Suburb Lewis Center
- The Promise Church on Facebook
See the Ohio Bicentenniel Barn here.
Ohio's Bicentennial Barns
Large photos are explained by detailed histories of each barn that was specially repainted in each county of Ohio for the Bicentennial in 2003.
Which Nativity Scene Is Yours?
As a child, I never believed in Santa Claus, so the commercial chaos and the piles of gift wrappings and worn out batteries, some workplace gift exchanges done without thought, the gift cards, and the gift returns on December 26 don't do much for me. Something more memorable and unique will do it.
Some Nativity scenes in America are pretty crowded and I've seen some overcrowding. They feature the Holy Family, the Three Wise Men (or 12, as the scripture's original language and ethnic customs suggest), the Little Drummer Boy, angels, shepherds, barn animals, Santa, his sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer, Rudolph and his red nose, Frosty the Snowman, James Herriott's Christmas Cat, the Grinch, Jack Pumpkin from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol. One included Donald Duck and his three nephews, his girlfriend Daisy, and Scrooge McDuck all dressed for Christmas around the stable. Sometimes, children place their small stuffed or figurine toys or a picture of a departed pet around the creche as well -- Meaning comes in a variety of packages.
I like the stable, the barn, and the animals speaking at midnight on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve in a barn with the many-pointed Moravian Star representing Good shining out into the first empty or searching universe is my kind of meaning. I don't see animals in the video below, but the service is unique enough to attract one's attention to the scripture celebration and I like that.
A large church of another denomination began a few years ago to have a huge Nativity scene and retelling of the Christmas story in their sanctuary, complete with the wise men on camels and shepherds with sheep and donkeys, all furnished by animal organizations. The event became larger every year and finally moved to a new sports arena venue downtown. Not held every year, it is another good event; but I like the Moravian barn service and hope it continues from time to time.
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