A Christingle means so much more than a fire hazard
At this time of year, many of us will stand a little nervously besides our young children as they proudly hold their Christingle, their eyes (and hopefully not their hair) alight by the combination of a lit candle, the responsibility of holding it and sweets to be picked off when no one was looking.
But what does it mean and how did it all start?
A Christingle is an orange with a red ribbon tied around, representing the world with Jesus blood, and therefore love, wrapped around it. Sweets and fruit on four cocktail sticks stuck into the orange represent God’s creation and provision in each season, with a lit candle on top symbolising the light of Christ.
The idea of a Christingle originally came from Bishop Johannes de Watteville way back in 1747, as a simple way to explain the happiness of knowing Jesus.
As the children held their candles, the bishop prayed, “Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children’s hearts that theirs like thine become.”
The Children’s Society introduced the Christingle to Britain almost 50 years ago
But it was the Children’s Society who revived the idea and introduced it to Britain almost 50 years ago as a way of shining a light on the plight of our vulnerable young people. It started with a single service in Lincoln Cathedral in 1968 with the hope that 300 people might come along. In fact, 1500 people came and today the Christingle service has become embedded in our Christmas celebrations and is celebrated by millions across the nation.
An endearing way to communicate God’s love
The Christingle has remained a colourful and endearing way of communicating God’s love as well as poignant fundraising tool. It is a great way to get young children to connect with the plight of others less fortunate than themselves and to support the Children’s Society work with vulnerable children across the UK.
This year, the Children’s Society launched their Christingle season with Bake with Kate, a Facebook Live event with Gogglebox star Revd Kate Bottley baking a Christingle cake to support their work with missing children.
Helping to keep our vulnerable young people safer this Christmas
In the UK, this Christmas, over 2000 children will go missing. The reasons can be unbearably simple, or complex.As the Children’s Society says, “There are ‘push’ factors such as abuse, bullying or family conflict and ‘pull’ factors like grooming. One in four children are forced out by their parents or carers… They may feel as though there is nowhere to turn and no one there for them. But our project workers help children in special one-to-one sessions and take the time to listen and understand their problems.” They use their expertise to find out why young people run away, and give them the support they urgently need.
So this year, when you fill up the fundraising box that comes with your child’s Christingle, or when you make a donation at a service, you will be helping vulnerable people get the expert help and support they need to stay safe this Christmas.
To find out more, click on the link to the Children’s Society
Christingle Services in Cornwall this year
Many Christingle services are taking place across Cornwall this year. To find one near you, have a look through our list of Christmas Services