Get involved in Christingle
Father Rob Wickham writes about a 'messy Christingle' service held at his church.
For the past few years, my church in London has offered a messy Christingle. It is now seen as a highlight of our Christmas festivities.
Our service includes much singing, dancing, and getting our hands dirty.
We begin with a song, then a moment of reflection as to our part in the world and our use of its resources. We offer a confession, and then following a Bible reading and a short talk, we make our way to various tables, all set out with the main parts that make up Christingle.
Then, we make our Christingles together – this is where the ‘messy’ part of the name comes from. As we each build our Christingle, the leader of the service (we ask a congregant to lead) and all of us helpers punctuate with explanation as to which ingredient symbolises what. There is lots of talking and laughing and everyone really enters into the spirit of the event.
When the Christingles are completed, we move back to our worship space. There, chairs are in a horseshoe, around cushions and carpet in the middle for the children to sit on. We then sing a song, during which our Christingles are lit, and all the lights in church are extinguished.
The service stays like this for another quiet song and a time of open intercession. Ultimately it lasts for about 40 minutes, during which the children's faces are lit from the glow of the candle in the Christingle that they have made.
This is a format that works really well, as we feel that it is in the making that children get a good grasp of the symbolism of the Christingle. It also enables them to eat sweets and dried fruits as part of the making, as opposed to immediately after receiving a pre-made Christingle. It also means that you don't make too many Christingles, thus eliminating waste.
Messy Christingle also eliminates the need for a group of people to make dozens of Christingles in advance, and encourages adults and children to make and play together, which strengthens their relationships and helps to create memories. I can’t recommend it enough.
Father Rob's piece was originally published in February 2014.