Catholic Activity: Christingles
Christingle means Christ-Light. Christingle services take place in many churches at Christmas to celebrate the coming of Christ, the light, into the world. The ceremony is very old, though no one knows just how far back it goes. However, in recent years the service has been revived in Britain by the Church of England Children's Society. At the services children (and adults) exchange a gift of money for a Christingle. The money raised is given to families in need.
Canadians decorate the Christmas tree with 'Chrismons'. A Chrismon gets its name from a combination of two words: Christ and Monogram. The monograms are all symbols which relate in some way to Jesus Christ. Many of them were used by the first Christians to identify themselves to one another - a star, a fish, a lamb, a cross. They are made in colour combinations of white, gold and silver which symbolize the purity and majesty of the Son of God. The evergreen tree they hang on is a reminder of the eternal life which Jesus promises. Chrismons are made out of card or polystyrene, and decorated with paint, beads or glitter.
1. Make a hole in the top of an orange. Do not make the hole too large. Place a candle in the hole.
2. Thread fruit (glace cherries, raisins, grapes), nuts (monkey nuts are easy to pierce) and small sweets onto four cocktail sticks.
3. Push the cocktail sticks into the orange to surround the candle.
4. Tie a piece of red ribbon (or flame-proof crepe paper) around the middle of the orange.
5. Cut a square of aluminum foil (at least 25 cm square) and place the orange in the center. Fold the foil up around the fruit so that it forms a shield to catch any dripping wax.
What do the different parts of a Christingle represent? The orange represents the world. The candle represents the light that Jesus brings to the world. The red band represents the blood Christ shed for us. The four cocktail sticks represent the four seasons. The nuts and fruit represent the fruits of the earth.
Activity Source: Feasting for Festivals by Jan Wilson, Lion Publishing Corporation, Batavia, Illinois, 1990