Christingle is a great service, which brings people to church and raises money for The Children’s Society. It’s a good opportunity to demonstrate the practical differences that God calls us to make.
One of the readings I used was was Bob Hartman’s A little shining, a little sowing which is a retelling of Jesus’ parables from Mark 4:21-32. I think one of the challenges of these sort of services is to encourage people to go on seeking making a different, and not just feel because they’ve been to a Christingle service they’ve ‘done their bit’.
Light in the darkness Readings: Isaiah 60:1-3, A little shining, a little sowing
“Darkness covers the earth”. People are in darkness. God knows that there are people in trouble and that we all need helping and saving, that we all need light in our lives. So he sent Jesus to do this, because he loved each one of us so much. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas, that God sent us Jesus. So, to help us remember this we have the Christingle.
What does the orange symbolise? What does the orange help us remember?
That God created the world
What do the sweets symbolise? What do the sweets help us remember?
Four seasons – all the good things in the world.
But, the problem is that people make the world a dark place by not loving each other. So, God sent us Jesus. And that’s what we celebrate at Christmas.
So what does the ribbon symbolise? What does the ribbon help us remember?
God’s love embracing the whole world.
And what about the candle? What does that symbolise? What does the candle help us remember?
That Jesus is the light of the world.
And that’s what we heard about in the first reading. We heard that God shines his light into the world, to shine into the darkness, to bring people back to him.
God shone his light into the world, and because of Jesus we’re invited to become part of God’s family, to be brothers and sisters of Jesus. And God doesn’t just shine his light into the world. He asks us to reflect his light to, in our own lives. In the other reading Jesus is talking to his friends, to the people who wanted to be part of his family. Jesus says to them “if you have a lamp, you’ve got to let it glow”. Just like it’s no good keeping seeds in their packet, but you’ve got to sow them to make them grow, it’s not good turning on a torch and then putting it face down. You need to use it properly so you can see things with it.
Does anyone know what a lighthouse does? <Shines in the darkness>
Jesus is telling his friends, his new family, that they can be like lighthouses, helping other people keep away from danger and get to safety. And Jesus wants us to be like that to, to shine light into places where its dark and where people are hurting, so that they can keep away from danger and get to safety.
And one of the ways that the Church has done this is by setting up the Children’s Society. The Children’s Society is working to give every child a better chance in life, because they know that people are in darkness. Last year the Children’s Society worked with over 48,000 children and young people, being lights in their lives.
Let me tell you about one of those, about a girl called Sara. She has been in foster care and in children’s homes and had to move 4 times in a couple of years. But through all the change and uncertainty Sara was supported by an Independent Visitor funded by the Children’s Society. The Independent Visitor helped and supported Sara through all the changes and is now helping her live on her own.
Jesus said “if you have a seed, you’ve got to let it go. Plant your seed, stand back and watch it grow!” The Children’s Society knows that to help people break out of a circle of problems they need to plant love and hope into people’s lives so that, hopefully, their lives can grow. And, of course, plants can only grow in the light.
Part of God’s promise in sending us Jesus is that one day there will be no more darkness, that things will be fair, that there will be justice. But, we can be part of his family now.
We are all special to God. And Jesus promises us that through his Holy Spirit he will be with us and help us to shine for other people and to sow love into their lives.
And that’s why we use a candle to help us remember Jesus, because Jesus shines and shows us the way to get to God. That’s what we are celebrating with our Christingles and what we celebrate at Christmas. God sent Jesus, who shows us the way to God and shows us how much God loves each one of us and that we can be part of his family.
Thank you God that you love us so much that you want to be with us.
Thank you that you will help us when we try to help each other.
We’re sorry when we don’t help those people we could.
Please be with us and help us to shine in the darkness.