Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Christingle of my very own

About a month back in a Liturgy class I am (or rather was since the term is now over) taking, the topic somehow came up about the English "Christingle" service. Being an American, I had never heard of it. They tried to explain it, but as far as I could tell, the Christingle was some weird Advent liturgy were British kids did perverted things to a orange.

Today, I got my very first Christingle. The Westcott chapel had a Christingle service for the kids. Apparently it started out as a sort of Advent/Christmas service for kids by a charity called the Children's Society.

According to their official website:

"Christingle services bring together family and friends of all ages. Held from Advent to Epiphany, this festive celebration communicates the Christian message in an inspiring way to adults and children alike. Its wide appeal makes it an ideal way to encourage newcomers to church and extend your congregation.
The Children's Society holds its special Christingle appeal each year to raise vital funds for the children facing life's harshest challenges. Children who may find themselves sleeping rough this winter; or fleeing conflict and war; caught in a cycle of crime; or marginalised due to a disability. The funds raised from Christingle help us to shine light into the darkness of their lives."

"So what exactly is this strange contraption?" you ask. Well, again according to the official website:

"The Christingle itself is made up of a lighted candle (symbolising Jesus, the Light of the World), mounted on an orange (representing the world), and a red ribbon or tape around the middle of the orange (indicating the blood/ love of Christ). Four cocktail sticks bearing dried fruit or sweets are also stuck into the orange to signify the four seasons and the fruits of the earth."

Apparently it was supposed started by the Moravian church in the 1700s, or at least that's what the story is. I sort of liked the idea after seeing it put into motion, as it can incorporate a story about St. Nicholas, advent and Christian themes, etc.

Strange, but true.