Friday, December 21, 2012

Just in case some of you are thinking past Christmas Eve/Day to December 30 or even Epiphany ....

From Wikipedia - in public domain
This morning I came across Christingles.  They come from Europe, are big in the UK, and are  totally new to me.  But if you google them there are lots of articles and  a fairly huge collection of pictures of them ( go to Christingle images).   So, I’ve been missing out.  Though they are often used during Advent, I think they could be introduced just after Christmas when we are maybe more inclined to think about the meaning of Christmas than we are during the last days before the Day.

Basically a christingle is a symbol God’s light for the world present in Jesus Christ.  The orange is the world.  The skewers of dried fruits (or fruit gumdrops) are for the four seasons of fruits and the benefits of the world God created.  The candle is for God’s light shed over all the world.  And, a red ribbon (or red tape for easy application) for the blood Christ shed for us.   That is a lot of symbols for young children, but it may work.

The world and its fruits are easy to grasp.

The light that God brings to the world could simply recall the Bethlehem star (especially if you use your christingles on Epiphany).  Or, it could be the light of God’s love that Jesus showed us as he grew and taught and healed and made friends among us (especially if you use your christingles on December 30).

Don’t let the red ribbon lead you into talk of atonement.  Instead make it a reminder that the baby in the manger grew up, loved and taught, was killed on a cross, and rose again.  The point is simply to connect the baby with man who died and rose on Easter.  You might even look ahead with the children to the events of Holy Week and the coming Easter celebrations.

As I said, this is new to me.  But, it looked interesting and worth sharing.  Apparently some congregations prepare them in advance to give out.  Others invite the children to make them during worship.  The latter might be possible on December 30 when numbers are usually smaller for most of us.  If any of you have used christingles in worship with children, how about sharing with the rest of us how you use them and alerting us to problems we may not see at first.


  1. My preacher-husband's response to christingles was "Great, sticky Chrismons!" Do with that what you will.

  2. This video might help:

    We get the kids to make their own Christingles on Christmas Eve, putting the Christingle on the Christmas Dinner Table the day after. It really works!

    Fr. Simon

  3. This video might help the explanation:

    Fr. Simon

  4. Thank you for the video link Fr. Simon. It IS a great introduction for us who are new to the Christingle.

  5. Another alternative is that some churches do them for Candlemas. In England they are very often linked with raising money for the Children's Society charity.

    A couple of comments on potential problems:
    1. Do use red tape instead of red ribbon! (This year we ended up with ribbon scotch-taped (sello-taped) onto the oranges, which did NOT work well.)
    2. The Children's Society sell glow-sticks as a substitute for those who don't want real candles used with small children.
    3. To repeat a point that you made - some use gumdrops and other candies/sweets, but it's just as appropriate to use grapes and raisins.

  6. Lots of ideas for Christingle celebrations here:
    They can take place right up to Candlemas.



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