Every year on the first Sunday of the New Year, we draw a new Watchword to guide the congregation for the coming year. The watchword is either a promise, an encouragement, an admonition or word of comfort from scriptures. The watchwords are pulled from the Moravian Daily Text. There is a scripture as well as a MBW hymn stanza. The stanza is our human response to God’s word in the Bible.
The Moravian tradition of drawing a watchword began in Herrnhut, Saxony. In 1722, the refugees from Bohemia and Moravia began arriving at the estate of Count Nicholas Zinzendorf, where the Count gave them land to establish the settlement of Herrnhut. They would come together for morning and evening devotions. Count Zinzendorf gave the congregation a Losungen (German for watchword), a daily message from God to accompany them through the entire next day. In 1731, the oral tradition of watchwords were printed into what is now known as the Moravian Daily Text.