Christingles Service History – Xmas Traditions

Christingles are symbols that are used by many Christians in Epiphany, Advent and Christmas services.

Christingle is a German word that means “Christ Child”. It is used to commemorate Jesus Christ as the Light of the world.

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This article discusses a number of facts about Christingle; how it started; what it entails; its importance to Christian believers and how it is celebrated today.

History of Christingles

Christingles tradition originated in Germany in the year 1747 and was started by Bishop John de Watteville.

Bishop Watteville gave children lighted candles that had red ribbons tied around them during the worship service.

The lighted candles were used to represent Christ as the light of the world.

History of Christingles

In the year 1968, John Pensom made Christingles become very popular in the United Kingdom by raising money for helping children in the society and by the year 2000, there were over five thousand Christingle services that were celebrated.

The amount of money that is being raised each year from these services is above 1.2 million Euros in the United Kingdom.

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The ceremony is usually celebrated on the Sunday before Christmas or on Christmas Eve by the Moravian Churches.

Composition of Christingle

A Christingle comprises of the following;

  1. A round orange that represents the world,
  2. A straight and tall candle that illuminates a light in the darkness. This represents the love of God.
  3. A red ribbon around the orange. This represents the love of Christ that was shed on the cross when he died for the sins of humanity. Moravian Churches believes sometimes use a white ribbon as a representation of Christ’s purity.
  4. There are four sticks on the orange that point in the four directions. The four sticks represent the four seasons and also the four directions; North, South, East, and West.
  5. The nuts and fruits symbolize the fruits of the earth that are nurtured by the rain and the sunshine. At times, there are sweets in place of fruits and nuts.

How to make a Christingle

One doesn’t need to attend Christingle celebrations for him or her to enjoy Christingle. He or she can make his or her own Christingles.

A Christingle can be made using the following procedure;

  1. A piece of red ribbon or sticky tape is fastened around the orange.
  2. A small cross is cut on top of the orange and then place on a tray to ensure that it catches the juice. After that, a square silver foil is laid over the cross.
  3. Four cocktail sticks are loaded with sultanas, sweets or cherries, raisins and then inserted into the orange and close to the candle base.
  4. The Christingles are then stored upright in a cool and dry place in the trays. It is important to make sure that you cut thin slices that form a base that is flat. An alternative would be to use fruit trays that would help in holding the Christingles upright.
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Activities During the Christingle Celebrations

There is not any defined way to celebrate Christingle. The activities that characterize these celebrations include but are not limited to traditional services, Messy Christingles, street parades and outdoor events.

These celebrations are occasions that those who participate carry their memories for years.

During this time, Christians share hopeful messages and sing Christmas Carols joyously.

Prayers and reading of the word of God are among many things that make people have fun and enjoy life.

Christingle was created to target children and all the celebrations are good events for both children and adults and generally, all people of all ages can enjoy them.

Best Ways to Celebrate Christingle

There are a number of things that one needs to do in order to make the celebrations remarkable and extremely enjoyable.

The following are a number of ideas that can help one in the preparations of memorable Christingle celebrations;

  1. Make sure that you involve as many people as possible, preferably the whole community and hold as many Christingles as possible.
  2. Have a Christingle time schedule that ensures that there is a place for the anniversary of future Christingle.
  3. Hiding a golden Christingles within the orange Christingles and give prizes to those who locate them. Make it complete and the results will be very interesting.
  4. Make records by for example taking note of how many Christingles one can make within 15 minutes.
  5. Ensure that the community knows where you are holding your event.

Importance of Christingle Celebrations

The celebration of Christingles is very important because it reminds Christians about their salvation through Jesus Christ the “Light of the World”.

It also unites people of all ages. Both children and adults celebrate the ceremony together and are united as a community of believers.

It also helps people to share; this was experienced well in the Moravian Church that introduced Christingles in Britain from the beginning.

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It has also made Christianity a reality as it reminds people that they should sacrifice for humanity just like Christ did by doing good things to them and that they should remain pure as Christ’s followers.

The celebrations also assist in the collection of funds to help children in the society. Poor children get assisted through charity.

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Main Points About Christingles Service History

  1. It is believed historically that Christingles came from a church in Germany in 1747 where a minister John de Watteville wanted children to think about Jesus.
  2. Christingles could mean Christ fire, Christ light, Christ angel or Christ child.
  3. The word ‘Christingles’ has different variants; it could be traced to an old Anglo-Saxon word ‘ingle’ meaning fire/light or a German word ‘Engel’/ ‘kindle’ meaning angel/child.
  4. Usually, Christingles Service is celebrated the Sunday before Christmas or on Christmas eve.
  5. The Christingle is symbolic. Orange represents the world, the lighted candle represents Christ, the nuts, raisins, and sweets represent God’s bounty. The red paper represents the blood of Christ.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christingles Service History

  1. When was the first Christingle service held?

    Christingle services are being held every year on the eve of Christmas. The first service was held in the year 1968. It was held in the month of December on 7th date.

  2. What does the Orange mean in Christingle?

    Christingle is in the shape of orange fruit. The orange fruit is a symbol or synonym of world. Also, a candle is passed through the orange. The candle is considered to be Jesus Christ as he provides the light to the world and illuminates it.

  3. How long should you let your candle burn?

    The candle symbolizes the light of Jesus Christ. It illuminates the world or the orange. Thus candle should not be burnt fully as it will damage the orange. So just as the candle is about to touch the orange it should be extinguished.

  4. How do you make a Christingle orange with cloves?

    A Christingle orange can be made with the help of cloves. The cloves are taken and then inserted one by one in the body of the orange. After the insertion of the cloves, the candle is put and then supported to the body of the orange with the help of cloves.

  5. Who invented the Christingle?

    The Christingle was invented in the year 1747. At that particular time the various development not done in the Christingle orange. It was just a simple common orange wrapped in red ruff.

  6. Why do we have Christingles at Christmas?

    The Christingle symbolizes that Jesus Christ is always present to guide the creatures of the earth to the right direction and path. The candle is a symbol of Jesus Christ's light and the orange is the symbol for the world.

  7. What does the red ribbon on a Christingle mean?

    The Red Ribbon which is used on the Christmas tree and the Christingle is a symbol of love and compassion. It also symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ which he shredded for all the people.

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Conclusion

Christingle was created to be a joyful tradition for young children as they learn about Christ the Child and the Light of the world.

The commemoration has existed for centuries and will always be commemorated even in the future. During this year’s Chritingles celebrations, the organizers are planning to widen the range of songs/hymns and activities for the event.

They are assuring the children that they will find those that will be suitable for all groups so that they can sing and enjoy together.

The first Christinglers will find it easier to celebrate and enjoy because the organizers have developed an easy-to-use guide that will take them through step by step.

A survey for 2019 celebrations was conducted in February and the organizers have promised to include the feedback in the celebrations.

There are also related New Year songs and Wassailing

Word Cloud for Christingles Service History

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christingles Service History. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christingle
  2. https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/fundraising-and-events/christingle/what-christingle
  3. https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/fundraising-and-events/christingle/the-history-of-christingle