Rev Deborah and Rev Caroline treated us to this “sermon” on Sunday 3 December 2017.
Interviewer: Today we have spared no expense and gone beyond all expectations for our Christingle service this year. Last year we had a representative from the Children’s Society to tell us about their work and the role the Christingle pays in it. This year we have gone step further. Never seen before, in fact probably never heard of before I would like to introduce today our very special guest. Could we have a warm St. Margaret’s welcome to …….fanfare…… ‘Mrs. Christingle’?
Interviewer: Mrs Christingle?
Mrs Christingle comes the central aisle looking very distracted.
Interviewer: Welcome Mrs. Christingle. We haven’t seen anyone like you before!
Mrs C: Hello, hello. I am sorry, but I am not quite myself at the moment. I seem to have lost parts of myself. How can I be Mrs Christingle when all I am at the moment is an orange! I am no use as a Christingle like this.
Interviewer: What parts are missing? We haven’t seen anything, erm, anyone like you before.
Mrs C: As you can see, this part of me is an orange. It represents the world; all that God has created. But I need a red ribbon. The red ribbon represents Jesus. It is red because it reminds us that Jesus died for each one of us and for the world. The ribbon goes right around the world because loves the world, us and creation and wants us to be in a relationship with him.
Carol: Is this it?
Mrs C: Yes, it is. Will you wrap it around me please? Thank you.
Interviewer: So we have the orange and the ribbon to remind us of God’s love for the world. What else is missing?
Mrs C: There are four sticks. These sticks reminding us of the four corners of the world – North, South, East and West. It is also a reminder of the four seasons:- spring, summer, autumn and winter. On each of the sticks there are raisons which represent the fruit of the world and God’s provision for us. Some people put sweets on them instead of dried fruit. I don’t suppose anyone has seen them?
Children with sticks come out and Carol fixes them onto the costume.
Mrs. C: Thank you. I am feeling more myself now.
Interviewer: Do you need anything else now?
Mrs C: The most important part, the candle. The candle represents Jesus, the light of the world. It is a light that shines in the darkness, that brings light and hope to all. It is the light of Jesus that shines when we go through those difficult times of life and in those parts of the world where there is injustice, violence and hurt.
Pat comes to the front the front and, with Carol, puts the hat on Mrs C.
Mrs C: That’s better. I feel complete now. I am who I am meant to be, Mrs Christingle.
Interviewer: You look great Mrs Christingle. But why do we have Christingles?
Mrs C: The Christingle service started in the Moravian Church in 1747 in Mairenborn, Germany. Legend has it that children were asked to bring gifts to church. One family was very poor but, determined to take something, the only thing the three children had was an orange. The top was going green, so the eldest cut it out, and put a candle in the hole. To add some colour, one of the girls took a red ribbon from her hair and tied it around the middle of the orange. To make the ribbon stay still, they fastened it in place with long thorns. They looked a bit bare, so the youngest child added some raisins. The children took their decorated orange lantern to the church for the Christmas service. The other children sneered at their meagre gift, but the priest seized upon it with joy. He held it up as an example of the true understanding of the meaning of Christmas, for the orange is round, like the world; the candle gives us light in the dark, like the love of God; the red ribbon goes around the ‘world’, as a symbol of Christ’s blood, given for everyone; the four sticks point in all directions, and symbolise that God is over all: North, South, East and West; and the fruit and nuts remind us of God’s blessings.
So, the Christingle has become a reminder of God’s love for us and Jesus, the light of the world, shining in the darkness. Now the Children’s Society use it as a fund raiser to help bring light and hope to children and young people in need.
Interviewer: What is the ‘Children’s Society‘ and what do they do?
Mrs C: The Children’s society is a national charity that helps thousands of children and young people in need.
Right now, in England
- 7 million children are living in poverty
- 16, 500 children are at risk of exploitation
- 1 in 10 children have mental health problems
- 1 child in 20 has been abused in one way or another
- 160 000 children are acting as young carers.
- 100 000 children have such difficult lives that they run away from home or care.
All these children and young people need our help.
Interviewer: So, what exactly do the Children’s Society do?
Mrs. C: Their mission is to bring hope to children and young people during life’s most desperate moments, helping them to build a better future. They do this by
- Work with children who are being exploited by giving them counselling, guidance and advice.
- They offer one to one support to those who are leaving care by offering mentoring especially in terms of educations, relationships and lifestyles and choices
- They provide counsellors to help children and young people with mental health issues and provide interventions for young people involved in drug and alcohol misuse
- Many children and young people are carers for their parents. The Children’s Society try and give them a break from their responsibilities and to raise awareness about the issues they face.
- The Children’s society provide support and advice to for refugees and migrant families who face destitution and help them to understand the immigration process and have a say in it.
Like the Christingle they bring hope to children and young people.
Interviewer: Today is the first Sunday of Advent. How are Christingles relevant to Advent?
Mrs C: Advent is a time of preparing for Jesus coming. Today, in our gospel reading we are told keep awake, to be alert and one of the ways in which we can do this is to watch and be alert for opportunities in which we can help others. Christingles are a symbol of hope. By supporting the Children’s Society and by the toys that we have donated we are doing our little bit to bring hope to others, just as Jesus brings hope to the world.
Interviewer: Thank you so much for being with us today Mrs Christingle.
Mrs C: Thank you for inviting me. I hope that your journey through Advent is a special time for you all and that you have a blessed Christmas celebrating the hope that Jesus brings to the whole world.