This long-standing worship tradition of scripture and song is accompanied by a “feast”—authentic, homemade Moravian buns and hot cocoa served to each pew of worshipers. The lighting of hundreds of beeswax candles fills the sanctuary with quiet reverence.
The music for Love Feast begins at 5 p.m. to prepare for the service, which begins at 5:30. This unforgettable service includes 6 traditional readings with music between by the Chancel Choir and Carillon Handbell Choir of First Presbyterian Church.
Experience suggests that you arrive early to get a seat. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. The musical prelude begins at 5 p.m.
Volunteer to Help
We need volunteers for serving as well as “backstage” preparations—wrapping candles (in advance), putting buns and candles in baskets (Christmas Eve morning), pouring cocoa into cups (during service), and more. All helpers are welcome, and no experience is needed!
Questions or to volunteer, contact Susan Materi (713-828-3249/903-533-1445).
History of the Moravian Lovefeast
The annual Lovefeast tradition began at First Presbyterian Church - Tyler in the 1970s and continues to draw families from congregations and communities across the entire East Texas region to share in this Moravian service celebrating harmony and love.
The Christmas Eve celebration of scripture and song is accompanied by a feast - homemade sweet buns and hot cocoa served to each pew of worshipers. As the ceremony ends, the lighting of hundreds of beeswax candles fills the darkened sanctuary with quiet reverence for the sacred holiday.
The roots of the Lovefeast service reach back to the Moravian Church, a Protestant denomination whose early history was fraught with exile and persecution. The Moravian tradition emphasizes Christian unity and highly values music as a conduit for worship; thus, the Lovefeast custom of quiet fellowship accompanied by music and a shared meal came into being as a way to strengthen community bonds and foster a spirit of goodwill, harmony, and friendship. Many other denominations have adopted Lovefeast services to celebrate a variety of church holidays, including Good Friday, a church's founding date, and Christmas Eve.
The liturgical nature of the Christmas Eve Lovefeast service at First Presbyterian Church takes its lead from the conventions of the Moravian Church, which values music first and foremost as a vehicle for its accompanying text. The words of the carols and anthems become the message of worship on Christmas Eve, and no sermon is given. A liturgist reads from the Gospel of John, and finally - as the lighting of candles spreads through the pews - the congregation joins the choirs in singing Silent Night.