A church service that is popular in Britain during December and January is the Christingle Service. This special service has been adopted by the Children’s Society, a charity that helps vulnerable children. It is a way of fundraising and bringing families and communities together. Christingle services have been held up and down the country in churches and schools for over 40 yrs and even when the children (who are usually the ones this service is aimed for) have grown up their parents still come back, year after year, to soak in the atmosphere of a Christingle service.
Here is a Christingle I tatted last week
During the service a christingle is given to every child who attends (and very often adults) and in return they give a donation towards the work of the Children’s Society. At some point the lights are switched off and we sing a carol by candlelight. We also have buckets of water ready, just in case!
I took this photograph myself when the lights went out and this is actually my hand!
A christingle is made of an orange, a candle, a ribbon, sweets and dried fruit on cocktail sticks. Each part of a christingle stands for something:
· Orange – the world
· Candle – Jesus the light of the world
· Red ribbon – the blood of Jesus · Cocktail sticks holding fruit and sweets – the seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) and all the good things in our world
Here are the Christingles on the altar ready to be given out
(okay yes some were doing a nose dive!)
Every year I purchase the items that go in to making a Christingles, which means buying about 150 oranges, hundreds of cocktail sticks, not to mention the sweets and dried fruit. Thankfully the red ribbon is provided by the charity and we order the candles in bulk. Making them takes quite a few hours and just before Christmas this can become an added chore especially when there are so many other preparations for the festive season.
This year it was my turn to give the talk at the services we hold on Christmas Eve at one of the churches (we have two sittings because so many people attend!). To illustrate the meaning of the Christingle I made a giant orange out of cardboard, some giant sticks with some birthday wrapping paper printed with sweets around the ends. Then I had an adult hold a lighted candle with children holding the orange, the sticks and other children came up and held red tinsel around them, so making a human Christingle!If you want to learn about the history of the Christingle which dates from the 18th century then here is the link
I am going to see Jane tomorrow, and she and I have been testing the shuttles that my husband has been making - so watch this space!