When I was at Salem, I was introduced to one of my favorite Christmas traditions - the Moravian Candle Tea. When we started the Refinery, our first women's outing was to the Candle Tea. A trip to the Candle Tea has been a tradition each year since then.
I love the Candle Tea for so many reasons. Although standing in line in the cold does not sound exciting to many people, I love the fellowship that I am able to have with friends.
My favorite part of the Candle Tea is slowing down and feeling as if I am stepping back in time. Each year, I am reminded that Moravians had the foresight to believe in educating women. The Moravians started Salem Academy and College - one of the first institutions in the nation dedicated to educating women. I am reminded each year at the Candle Tea how proud I am to have been educated at a place that believes in the ability of women to change the world.
I also love sitting in a room and singing Christmas songs to the organ. For the short time that we sing, I feel connected to the generations before me that also sat in a similar room and sang by candle light.
I also love the smell of the bees wax candles. I've decided that if I were a Moravian responsible for making the candles, I would love to pull the candles from the mold.
Perhaps the best part of the Candle Tea is the time in the kitchen when we are served coffee and sugarcake. The coffee is specially brewed twice to give it a unique flavor. This takes me back to the time when I sat in Salem Square, sharing sugar cake with my friend Kacee during scholarship weekend. I knew then that Salem was a special place.
Then you go to the putz. This is a miniature reproduction of the town of Salem at the turn of the nineteenth century. The model is built to scale and is absolutely amazing. Each year something new is added.
The most meaningful part of the Candle Tea is saved for the end. In a small room, there is a Nativity scene. Someone reads the Christmas story from Luke. It was so nice to have time to sit quietly and reflect on the birth of our Lord.
We always finish the night with dinner!