I have had occasion to attend several Christmas Love Feasts. The Love Feast is a tradition of the Moravian Church, the oldest Protestant denomination.
It is a simple service consisting of music and scripture. A “meal” is also served. It consists of a sweetened bun and a cup of coffee sweetened with cream and sugar. Not intended to be a version of communion, it is, rather, a simple meal signifying that we are all the same–equal–in the eyes of God.
Toward the end of the service as a Moravian hymn is sung, candles are distributed and lighted. The lights in the church are lowered, and the candles of the congregation shine bright. In some of the services, the last hymn sung as the congregation holds its candles is “Joy To The World.” When the final stanza is sung (“He rules the world with truth and grace”), the leader of the service thrusts his candle above his head, and the congregation follows suit. It is a powerful moment. The congregation with candles held high signals the coming of the “light of the world.”
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2)
“I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5)