A Christmas Putz is a tradition which dates back to St. Francis of Assissi, who dramatized the message of the gospels for the common folk of the thirteenth century. Later on, German and Alpine craftsman began to carve figures of the Holy family from local native woods, and soon the finely carved Joseph and Mary were seen in churches, homes, and market places.
Moravians, emigrating to America in the eighteenth century, brought along some of the figures from their homelands. These Moravians were members of an ancient church which traced its origin back to 1457 as followers of John Hus.
The word “Putz” is a derivative of a German word meaning “to decorate.” American Moravians use this name for the Christmas scenes they make in their homes to tell the Christmas Story. Early Moravians would prepare these displays and then go “Putzing” to view fellow Moravians’ displays in other’s homes.
Unlike a crèche, which depicts only a nativity scene, a Putz also includes some of the events prior to and following the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Our Putz was begun in the church Parsonage as a small display by one of our former pastors. It was enlarged twice until it reached its present size of 16 feet wide by 6 feet deep, due to the interest which had been shown in the project.
Our Putz is displayed from early December through New Year’s Eve; but it can be viewed other times by request to the church office at 717-626-8515.
To create a natural look, we have placed the thirteen electrically lighted scenes among live moss and tree limbs. Driftwood and rocks are used to complete the terrain.
All the Putz figures and scenery have been hand painted by members and the canopy contains a setting of stars which represent the northern December sky.
The sound track for the Putz uses various verses from the Bible to tell the Christmas Story, and most of the musical selections are sung by our church choir.
The sequence of events are as follows:
- LIGHT OF THE WORLD
- THE ANNUNCIATION
- SHEPHERDS – ANGEL OF THE LORD
- HEAVENLY HOST
- THE CAVE STABLE
- STAR OF BETHLEHEM
- THE WISE MEN – VISIT KING HEROD
- THE WISE MEN – VISITING JESUS
- FLIGHT TO EGYPT
- THE CHURCH
Following the finale, you are welcome to examine the Putz more closely. If you would care to leave a donation to help us maintain the Putz, a receptacle has been placed next to the Putz.
Thank you for attending and letting us share the joy of the Lord’s birth with you in this unique way.
The Light of the World Shines Out
In Peace and Love to All Mankind
From the humble Manger and the
Star of Bethlehem.