notre dame montreal

Sermon preached by The Reverend Dr Sam Cappleman

Christ the Light – Christingle (But what about the foil?)

picture of Christingle orange

The following is a family service talk addressed to the congregation whilst making Christingles

Christingle – meaning 'Christ Light' – is a symbol of the Christian Faith.
For many years churches all over the world have made Christingles to remind them that Christ is the light who came into the world at Christmas.

The Christingle orange represents the world, John reminds us that ‘Jesus was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognise Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him’. (Jn 1 v 10 – 11).

The red ribbon of the Christingle represents the blood of Jesus which was shed for us so that our sins may be forgiven. ‘But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin’. (1 Jn 1 v 7).

The fruits and sweets on the four skewers represent God’s gifts to us, the fruits of the earth and the four seasons. ‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease’. (Gen 8 v 22).

The lighted candle, pushed into the centre of the orange, represents Christ, the light of the world. ‘He [Jesus] said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”.’ (John 8 v 12).
Christingle originated from the Moravian church in Germany and was established in 1467. It was used in a service n Marienborn on Germany in 1747. Have a look at the Children’s society web site  to find out more…

But what about the tin foil?

As we make our Christingles we take a piece of baking foil (tin foil) and wrap it round the candle before we put the candle in the orange. It’s where the world of the orange and the candle come together, it’s at the join, the interface, the place where they meet. And as we make our Christingles, we’re reminded that the foil is a good representation of us as Christians. We too stand at the interface of Christ and the world. The place where Christ and the world come together. We are one of the ways in which Christ comes into contact with the world and the world comes into contact with Christ And sometimes, just like being pushed into a juicy orange, it can be a bit messy as we get involved with people who Christ would have us meet. As we stand up for the way of Jesus in a world which so often seems to be going in the opposite direction

The foil around the candle has two important functions

It’s there to catch the drips!

As Christians we are there to catch the drips. To look after the drips of the world, to look after the things of the world for which God has given his people the responsibility, His creation. There is a Swiss watch advert which tells the readers that they will never actually own this particular brand of watch, they will merely look after it for the next generation.
That’s how it is with us and the creation that God has entrusted to us; we are to look after it for the next generation. He has given us the world and all that is in it so we can look after it, especially the places and people that no one want to look after.

The foil has another function too. It’s there to reflect the candle light,

Just as we are called to reflect the light of Christ. If the foil was a perfectly flat mirror then it would reflect the light perfectly
But its not, it’s a bit crumpled. As humans, we’re not perfect, were a bit crumpled, and the image of Christ we reflect may not always be perfect in the way that we’d wish. But we are created in God’s image, and we reflect the glory of His Son Jesus.

‘And we, who with unveiled faces, all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness, with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’, 1 Cor 3 v 18
Not only created in His image, to reflect His glory, but being continually transformed, changed, by that same glory, into His likeness. As we reflect more and more of his image into the world, we become more like Him.
The more we do it, the better we get!
Doing it, as John the Baptist would say in our readings today, in the here and now, not in the future to come.
The kingdom of God is near, at hand, not far away in the future.
We are that kingdom; we are called to reflect it in our lives.
That others may see the light if Christ in us and be drawn to Him.
A light which we reflect in our lives this Christmas and all the year through.