Adopted in one form or another by most churches as a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, this celebration is so popular in Lititz that the Christmas Vigil Service is scheduled six times during Advent. Beginning in absolute darkness the Moravian Star hung high in the sanctuary begins to glow as the choir in hushed tones sings the familiar German “Stille Nacht, heilege Nacht!”
The choir with organ and orchestra leads with hymns and anthems in the manner of Singstunde, wonderfully combining music and the Word. At the height of the musical experience a child leads in the antiphonal hymn, “Morning Star, O Cheering Sight”.
At the appropriate moment the dieners (servers) in traditional costume process into the sanctuary with baskets sweetened buns and trays of coffee and chocolate for the Christmas lovefeast. During the common meal the choir sings Christmas hymns and anthems sustaining the festival of love and goodwill that is truly a celebration of Christmas.
After the lovefeast the dieners return in procession aglow with hundreds of candles positioned on special trays. The candles of bees-wax and tallow are hand-made by members of the congregation. At the bottom of each candle is a hand-made non-flammable paper frill. Some say the bees-wax and tallow symbolize the humanity of Christ, the lighted wick His Divinity; and the white frill His purity. Others say that it simply reminds us that Jesus said: “I am the Light of the World.”
After the candles have been distributed and during the singing of the last hymn, a Christmas version of the favorite Moravian hymn "Sing Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!", worshipers hold their candles aloft as a prayer that they want Christ's light to shine in their hearts and through their living in a way that they fulfill the call of Jesus to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).