Christmas and Advent are my favorite time in the liturgical calendar. As a religion teacher I love finding new creative ideas to engage my class and advent is the best time to do this! There are vast amounts of resources available to teachers during this christmas season.
This week is the last week of school before the Christmas Holidays begin and I always try to make the last lesson with my class fun, memorable but also intellectually engaging. In previous years my class have made advent wreaths, angles for the top of their christmas trees and even their own manger and this year was proving pretty tough to think of more creative lesson plans. So, I began to think back to my own school days and remembered the Christingle!
There are many different stories about the origin of the Christingle. However, we do know that it originated in Germany. Each church celebrate Christingle in their own unique way but the meaning of Christingle always remains the same.
One story I found which I immediately grew quite found of was this:
“there were three children, who were very poor, but wanted to give a gift to Jesus, like the other families at church were doing. The only nice thing they had was an orange, so they decided to give him that. The top was going slightly green, so the eldest cut it out and put a candle in the hole. They thought it looked dull, so the youngest girl took her best red ribbon from her hair and attached it round the middle with toothpicks. The middle child had the idea to put a few pieces of dried fruit on the ends of the sticks. They took it to the church for the Christmas mass, and whereas the other children sneered at their meagre gift, the priest took their gift and showed it as an example of true understanding of the meaning of Christmas.”
Christingle means ‘Christ’s Light” and is a symbol of Christian faith. It is made up of different parts:
Orange– this represents the world
Four Cocktail Sticks– the four seasons or the four corners of the world.
Dried Fruit (or sweets)– remind Christians of God’s gifts to the world including kindness and love. Also are a symbol of God’s creations.
Red Ribbon– goes all round the ‘world’ and being the colour of love to remind us the Jesus loves us and reminds us to show us how much we love him especially at Christmas. (one other meaning is that red symbolizes blood to remind us that Jesus died for us but for younger children I personally prefer the symbol of love, especially at Christmas)
Candle– it is nice to use a birthday candle because it reminds the children that Christmas Day is after all, Jesus’ birthday. The light of the candle also reminds us the Jesus is the light of our world.
The Finished Product: