Each day from now until Christmas day one article will be devoted to a subject connected with Christmas. Today we take a look at Christingles.
A Christingle is a symbolic object used in advent services in churches of many Christian denominations. It has its origins in theMoravian Church, with the first recorded use, in Germany, in 1747.
This is the story of the first Christingle:
One Christmas time back in 1747 in the estate of Marienborn near Eckhartshausen in Germany, Pastor Johannes de Watteville sat at home in front of his fire. He was thinking how he could explain the love of Jesus, and what Christmas really meant to the children in the church. He decided to prepare a simple symbol to help make the message of Christmas fresh and lively for them. Pastor Johannes de Watteville gave each child a lighted candle wrapped in a red ribbon, with a prayer that said "Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these dear children's hearts". This was the first ever Christingle service.
Many years later, in 1968, Christingle services were introduced to the Anglican Church in Britain by John Pensom of The Childrens Society, and the custom spread quickly; each year there are more and more Christingle services in England and Wales, although today's Christingles are a little different.
The Christingle consists of:
an orange representing the world with a red ribbon around it representing the blood of Jesus (i.e. his death on the cross for our sins, in our place) fruits and sweets (commonly dolly mixtures) are skewered on 4 cocktail sticks which are pushed into the orange representing the fruits of the earth and the four seasons a lighted candle is pushed into the centre of the orange representing Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Jesus describes himself in the Bible, in John chapter 8 v. 12, in this way: 'I am the Light of the World, if you follow me you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.' (New Living Translation) The base of the candle is commonly wrapped in tinfoil; this is regarded by some as purely functional, though others ascribe it with a specific meaning.