St Mary's Richmond is holding a Christingle Service on 27th November at 4pm to which everyone is most welcome! The music will be by Upbeat and Anacrusis and Scott Lund will be speaking. This is a very atmospheric service full of fun, awe and meaning for everyone taking part. Do come and join in if you live in the area. Many churches will be holding Christingle Services before or just after Christmas - there will certianly be one in your area. The custom in Anglican churches is for the money given at Christingle services to go to the Children's Society
The Children's Society does inspirational work with children and young people who live on the streets, who have run away from home, who are refugees or who are disabled. They work with young people who are part of the youth justice system and with children who carry responsibility as carers. Please visit their website and consider whether you could give something towards their work this Christmas. I have worked in parishes where they have enabled children to see their parents at Christmas - and you cannot imagine the joy that creates! I have also seen how their work can enable a child who has run away to ring home and say 'I'm OK' which brings unbelievable relief and the possibility of reconciliation.
At Christmastide 1747, in Germany, Bishop Johannes de Watteville wondered how he could explain the love of Jesus. What did Christmas really meant to the children? The Pastor 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 Christingle service. Today, a Christingle service is celebaretd in most parishes around Christmas. A story of the origins of the Christingle that is often told is that there were three children, who were very poor, but wanted to give a gift to Jesus. The only thing of value they had was an orange, so they decided to give Him that. The top was going slightly green, so the eldest child cut it out, and put a candle in the hole. They thought it looked dull, so the youngest child took a red ribbon from her hair and attached it round the middle with toothpicks. The middle child decided to place a few pieces of dried fruit, chocolates and nuts on the ends of the sticks. They took it to the church for the Christmas Mass, and the priest, realisng the love that lay behind their gift, took their it and showed it to the whole congregation as an example of a true understanding of the love of God, shown in Christ and in His birth into the world at Christmas. He explained the meaning of the Christingle
- the orange represents the world which God created and loves,
- the red ribbon around it represents the blood of Jesus who died for love of the world,
- the dried fruits or sweets on cocktail sticks represent the fruits of the earth and the four seasons,
- the candle in the centre of the orange, represents Jesus Christ, the light of the world illuminating all things.