Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sian's Christmas Club. In which the story of the Christingle is told

This picture, from 2008, shows R holding a Christingle. The Family Carols and Christingle services at our church are a big part of Christmas for us so, as part of Sian's Christmas Club, I thought I'd  do a bit of research into the tradition and meaning of the Christingle.

Christingle means ‘Christ’s Light’ and it is a symbol of the Christian faith.
The service is a candlelit celebration which brings together people of all ages from the community.
During the celebration everyone receives a Christingle which is made of an orange, a lighted candle, a red ribbon and sweets on cocktail sticks, each part acting as a symbol of the Christian faith:
  • an orange representing the world;
  • a red ribbon around it representing the blood of Jesus, which goes all around the world;
  • dried fruits or sweets skewered on cocktail sticks pushed into the orange, representing the fruits of the earth and the four seasons (or the four corners of the world); and
  • a lit candle pushed into the centre of the orange, representing Jesus Christ as the light of the world.[1]
The base of the candle is commonly wrapped in tinfoil. Most sites I visited regard this as functional, though, according to Wikipedia, Rev Kelvin Inglis of All Hallows church in Whitchurch, Hampshire, England talked about the tinfoil at the bottom of the candles as a means to "reflect Jesus' light and goodness further." 

I love the feeling in the church when all the children are clutching a lighted Christingle and the church lights are switched off. Truly magical. Our service this year is at 4pm on Christmas Eve so we will return home afterwards to tea and bath and then the final chapter of 'The Christmas Mystery' before hanging our stockings and preparing for the Man in Red's visit.

I like to feel that, this way, the true meaning of Christmas is not lost amidst the commercialism.


humel said...

Beautiful! I love Christingles - we always have one in school, and my daughter's class led it this year :-) Unfortunately we're not allowed to let every child have a lighted candle in case of accidents - and a friend of mine at school once set someone's hair alight by walking too close behind her with a lighted candle, so I can see the point of this particular health and safety edict!

Amy said...

Thanks for explaining the meaning to me Kirsty - this is not something we do in the Catholic tradition here in Australia, but it would be a magical service to attend.

scrappyjacky said...

This reminds of the services we went to when I was a child....Christingle is such a lovely trdition.

Deb said...

This is a great post, Kirsty. I've never heard of "Christingle" before and enjoyed reading about its meaning and the tradition.

Sian said...

My husband introduced me to this tradition and I find it a lovely part of Christmas, so I loved this post today. A perfect reminder of what Christmas is really about. Thank you so much!

And a merry Christmas to you all. CC wouldn't have been the same without you.

Sorry, no I don't have a recipe for you, but I'll ask around!

Becky said...

I love the Christingle service - when I worked at the pre-school the local vicar used to hold a special service just for our children which was really magical. I used to take my own children to the main one every year and that was no less magical! Thank you for sharing this and bringing back some lovely memories for me. Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas!

Karen said...

Love your explanation about Christingle. We too have a Christingle service for the children and the first year we had it they were allowed to take the lighted candles back to the pew. Needless to say Gracia singed the hair of the man in the pew in front! That was the one and only year that children were allowed to wonder around the church with lighted candles.