Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Anyone ever heard of a Christingle?
I sure hadn't, until Sunday evening. They had been advertising a very special evening service at church, and I orginally hadn't planned to go (if I go to an evening service it's usually closer to home)-- but I was intrigued. There was a play, I knew, and I knew most of the people in it, of course. So I braved the dark and cold of the shortest day of the year and turned up at church.
I got excited when the play first started, as it was about the 'littlest angel', and one of my favourite stories growing up was also about a 'littlest angel', and is also a Christmas story. This, however, turned out to be a different story-- but that's okay. It was quite cute, perhaps mainly because I knew the folks in it. =) Anyway, this little angel has been trying for a very long time to win his wings, and so Gabriel gives him one more chance-- to go to earth and help three people. The poor little angel isn't too good at it, really-- although he does manage to help people (Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men) without meaning to or realising it. Each time he receives a gift for his help: an orange from Mary; a candle from the shepherd; a red ribbon, four twigs, and exotic fruits from the wise men. He decides to make a gift for Gabriel out of them, and gives it to the head angel at his wing-pinning. Gabriel is impressed, and names the angel Christingle, because he has helped so many people AND because his gift will help many others remember and share the story of the baby King born that night in Bethlehem.
And then we all got Christingles! We were warned to be very careful and not set anyone's hair on fire. We were all very careful, and no one caught on fire. Whew. Here's my Christingle (with the flowers my mom sent. Thanks, mom!):
The orange reminds us of the world-- not perfectly round, because our world is fallen and not perfect, but sweet nevertheless. The ribbon (or in this case, red electrical tape) represents the blood of Christ, born to die for us and our sins in order to draw us back to God. The four twigs represent the four corners of the earth, and reminds us that Jesus came for all people. The fruits remind us of the Fruits of the Spirit. The candle represents Christ, the light of the world, who came to us and for us, so that we may not only walk in His light, but so that we likewise might share His light with others. So we take the Christingle away with us, taking the light into the world.
May the light of Christ shine in your life today, and every day.