Services, with their familiar symbol of a lighted candle, orange, red ribbon and
fruits, can be held from Advent to Epiphany. Christingle was
established by the Moravian Church in 1747 as a symbol of Christ's light
and love. It was introduced to the Church of England in 1968 by The Children's Society, for which the annual
Christingle appeal raises vital funds. Collections taken during
Christingle Services are usually donated to The Children's Society, if
for no other reason that it is the source of the materials and ideas
used during the service.
Children's Society Christingle website has many good ideas for how to
celebrate this service, including Christingle songs that can be sung to
well-known tunes, free and downloadable resources, a useful range of
Christingle materials to buy, prayers, teaching materials and sample
- One option is simply to add Christingle
themes to the usual structure of your Family Service, including
Christingle prayers, songs and teachings.
- Another option is to celenrate Christingle
within a Family Eucharist.
- One simple teaching idea is for the leader
to explain the background to Christingle, and then as s/he talks through
the meaning of each element of the Christingle (orange, candle, ribbon
& fruits), helpers distribute each element to members of the
congregation, who assemble their own Christingles before they are lighted
- An adult
to lead the talk.
- Adults to
help distribute the Christingles, or Christingle parts, depending on your
involvement of others will depend on exactly how you decide to structure
- Props as
determined by your choice of activity.
- For the
Christingles: oranges (sufficient for every member of the congregation to
have one), candles (the right size to use an orange as a holder), foil
squares (to act as a drip-tray for the candle), cocktail sticks (four per
orange), small sweets and dried fruits (for impaling on the cocktail
sticks), red ribbon plus some way of attaching it to the oranges, or red
stickytape. Appropriately-sized candles and red tape can be
purchased from The Children's Society. If you have
difficulty in placing your order online, then you can order by
telephone instead: 0845 600 8585.
- Preparation as determined by your choice of teaching
Christingle preparation. Assembling the Christingles takes less
time than you might think, especially with the help of a few people - and
children can enjoy this process, too. The oranges need to be able to
stand upright, so take a thin slice off the bottom of any that are too
wobbly. Then cut a cross, or make a hole with an apple-corer, in the top
of the oranges. The foil needs to be cut into squares big enough for the
candles to push into the hole, and to spread out around the base of the
candles to catch drips of hot wax. A few sweets and/or pieces of dried
fruit need to be impaled on each cocktail stick. The ribbon or tape
should be stuck around the middle of the orange (encircling it like the
Equator): even if the congregation will be assembling the Christingles,
it is simplest to have the tape or ribbon already attached.
- The lighted candle symbolises Jesus, the
Light of the World. The orange represents the world. The red ribbon or
tape around the middle of the orange reminds us of the blood of Christ,
which He shed because of His love for us. The dried fruit or sweets
symbolise the four seasons and the fruits of the earth.
- One fresh way of approaching the
Christingle teaching is to focus on the foil square that we put under the
candle. See this sermon, preached originally by the Revd Dr Sam
Cappleman, for more explanation.
- Another fresh approach is to focus on the
sticks of sweets/fruit that are stuck around the Christingle orange. This
works particularly well if you have the congregation constructing the
Christingles as you talk.
- Give out the oranges: in the beginning
God created everything, including our world. He loved it and saw that
it was good. God made humans and gave them the task of caring for His
world. He saw that what He had made was good. He loved the humans and
provided everything they needed. He taught them that they were to
obey Him, and warned that if they didn't live as He taught them, then
they would be bringing about their own destruction.
- Give out the ribbon, to be attached as
you speak: Humans chose to disobey God, and sure enough by doing so
they brought suffering and hardship and death into God's good
creation. Even when some of the humans felt sorry about how they'd
behaved, and tried to change their ways, it could not close the
divide that had opened up between them and God. And no matter how
hard they tried, they could not keep from disobeying God. But God
loved the world and its people so much that He reached out to close
the gap Himself. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us on the
cross: this ribbon symbolises His blood, shed for us. When Jesus died
on the cross, He paid the price for our sins.
- Give out the foil and candles, to be
attached as you speak: The story doesn't end there, of course. Jesus
rose again that first Easter Sunday, defeating death and evil. He
shines now as a light to the world, bringing hope to all who trust in
- Give out the sweets/fruit sticks, to
be attached as you speak: Where do we fit into this story? When Jesus
went back to Heaven, He promised that we would not be left alone. He
promised that God's Holy Spirit would come to guide and comfort us.
He is here with us today. How do we know? Because we can sense His
presence when we pray for guidance and help, and in prayer-soaked
places like churches and cathedrals - and because we can see His
effects in our Christian brothers and sisters. When we invite the
Holy Spirit into our lives, we blossom and the world is transformed -
in even more marvellous ways than the transformation of these
Christingles as we add the fruits to them.
- As we light our Christingles, let us
remember that God is our Father, who created our world and every one
of us. Let's remember that God revealed Himself to us through His Son
Jesus Christ, who loved us so much that He died for us, and shines as
the light of the world. And let us remember what a difference it can
make to the world when we choose to obey God, to accept the gift of
forgiveness that He gives us through Jesus, and to invite God's Holy
Spirit to help us to play our part in bringing about God's kingdom,
here on earth.