2018 is the fifty year anniversary of the first Christingle service in a Church of England church in the UK.
So what is a Christingle? Each element of a Christingle has a special meaning and helps to tell the Christian story:
- The orange represents the world
- The red ribbon (or tape) symbolises the love and blood of Christ
- The sweets and dried fruit represent all of God’s creations
- The lit candle represents Jesus’s light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.
The Christingle was specifically created with children in mind which means the celebrations are the perfect event for children and families and can be enjoyed by people of all ages – especially if they don’t regularly attend church.
What is the history behind the Christingle? The first Christingle service for The Children’s Society was held in the UK at Lincoln Cathedral on 7 December 1968. But Christingles themselves actually go back much further, and began in the Moravian Church in Germany. At a children’s service in Marienborn in 1747, 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. In 1968, John Pensom of The Children’s Society adapted Christingle and introduced it to the Church of England. 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.