The idea of Christingles came from a Moravian Church in Germany in 1747. At a worship service during Advent, children were given an orange with a lighted candle pushed into the top of it. The idea was that this would symbolize Jesus as the light of the world. It was a simple way for children to hold in their hands something so pure and powerful.
But, over the years, the Christingle evolved into so much more. In my opinion, it got a little weird. A ribbon was added around the orange to symbolize the blood of Christ. Four sticks were added to symbolize North, South, East, and West. These same sticks also represented the four seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall. Then, placed on the sticks were fruit and nuts to represent the fruits of the earth.
Which is fine, I understand that we want to get the most out of an orange. But to me it looks kind of alien and out-of-this-world. It reminded me how crazy and weird the Advent season can become when we try to put way too much stuff into it. Christmas is still weeks away but the frenzy of shopping takes center-stage. Reindeer show up in yards. Lights are draped on homes. Parties are abundant. I understand the excitement for Christmas. I get caught up in it myself. But I hope Advent doesn’t get lost in the clutter. I hope we allow the season of Advent to show us the light that was, that is, and is still to come. Today I’m thinking about that simple orange with a candle stuck in the top of it. Jesus is not out-of-this-world. Jesus is the light of this world.