December is always so full of being busy. Parties with work, parties at school, extra visitors, shopping for big meals, presents and outfits.
It’s one of the busiest times for the church also.
Carol Services, Nativities, Midnight Services and one of my favourites, The Christingle Service.
It’s fair to say I’ve been to a number of Christingle Services in my 39 years, from being a child myself, to trying to deal with Cub Scouts gathered around the altar trying to see who could get their lit candle closest to their hair without setting it alight. Hair burns fast when it’s covered in spray or gel. I’m not sure which the young lad had used that morning.
They might not have learnt what a Christingle was but hopefully they learnt not to mess with flames.
So what is a Christingle Service?
It’s is a celebratory service which thousands of churches and schools hold each year.
The idea of the Christingle began in Marienborn, Germany in 1747 where, at a children’s service, Bishop Johannes de Watteville looked for a simple way to explain the happiness that had come to people through Jesus.
He decided to give the children a symbol to do this. This was a lighted candle wrapped in a red ribbon. At the end of the service, whilst the children held their candles, the bishop said the prayer, ‘Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children's hearts that theirs like thine become.’
Now in its 49th year the modern form was introduced to the Church of England by John Pensom of The Children’s Society in 1968. This involved children decorating an orange with a red ribbon, dried fruits, sweets and a candle to create a new visual representation of Christ, the light of the world, celebrated by the lighting of the Christingle candles.
Each piece of the Christingle symbolises something to help us understand the importance of Jesus and the Gospel, and its relevance at Christmas time.
The orange is the world, while the red band is the love and blood of Jesus. Then the sweets remind us of all God’s creation and the lit candle is Jesus himself, the light which came into the world at Christmas.
Once again this year All Saints, Highertown will be hosting a Christingle Service and it’s a perfect way to remember in the middle of all the hustle and bustle what the ‘Reason for the Season’ is.
Because the service has children in mind it is perfect to come along as a family but ALL are welcome to come and join us, to share in the joy, warmth and celebration.
If you wish to find out more about the services at ASHT this Advent and Christmas Season please visit the church website asht.org.uk
Lydia Remick (LLM – Reader)
A collection of thoughts and reflections from the people of All Saints.