I have a confession to make – I am a mole. Or at least my family think I am. Don’t worry, your secrets are safe with me. My mole-like characteristic is to shun the light. If it can be dimmed, turned off or softly lamp-lit instead then I’m all for it.
My M.E afflicted eyes are hypersensitive to bright light of any description and it can cause physical pain at times. But there is one light I am irresistibly drawn to time and time again: The Light of the World: Jesus Christ. Instead of an unwelcome glare, there is healing, hope and safety here.
“You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light” ~ 2 Samuel 22:29
Darkness only serves to make the light shine brighter. In this Advent season light is very much in evidence. We see it in the Christmas lights twinkling on the tree, bright public decorations or the softer glow of candlelight. I’m sharing a reflection on the Christingle Service (Do click on the link for more information relating to its adoption in England and how it is celebrated) that takes place during the Advent season in many churches.
Christingle literally means “Christ Light”
and is a service of light and ceremony, of song and symbolism, of celebrating the Hope and Joy that is found in Christ. In the dark of winter, the coming of Christ, the ‘Light of the World‘ is a powerful message of hope that is for every season and for everyone.
Although I don’t belong to a church that celebrates Christingle, our youngest son, Sam, was a Cathedral chorister. I’ve enjoyed participating in the Christmas services in various Church of England (C of E) ones I have attended over the years. This reflection is viewed partly through the lens of memory and partly through my imagination…
“Shafts of scattered light pick out patchwork patterns of jewelled fragments dancing with vibrancy – stained-glass images through which we read a story still ringing true. Polished pews we dutifully slide off, painfully kneel on hard woven hassocks wrought with love and devotion, the warp and weft of history recording human and Divine encounter. Readying ourselves to add our links of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication to the ongoing chain of prayer.
Incense wafting in the air already heady with floral scents, sputtering gas-lit lamps, candle wax dripping hotly onto brass; tang of orange-scented globes thrust high in sweaty palms.
Angelic voices rising and mingling with the coughs, chokes and mis-timed notes of Congregational singing. Songs of adoration, praise in celebrating Mystery beyond our understanding.
Procession trailing, gently swaying robes sweeping the floor as eyes turn to watch them passing by and catch a glimpse of choristers – bold and shy – following the vestmented few.
A pause in proceedings, a sniff, shuffle, sighed “Excuse me” as we file forward, released from our seats, now participating in homage paid to the Nativity scene where all sojourners meet.
Finding a babe in the manger, an infant serene, as His mother Mary quietly observes Him, pondering deeply all that has been. These are our representatives of Your love come down – to celebrate the wonder of Your kingly crown set aside for earth’s suffering: The God-head revealed in humanity shared.
Now You make Your home with the hurting, the broken, the lonely and lost. No longer confined to a manger, a stable, a desert, a cross. You are out in this world, slipping into its streets of shame to rescue the desperate, the hopeless and helpless – society’s rejects accepted and loved – forever welcomed, made new, received by Heaven above.
So we make room in our hearts and lives for You too as we ponder these things as Mary would do. Then we take what we learn and share it around, because everyone deserves to come Home safe and sound. Back to the place we used to come from – back to believing we truly belong. Back to Your side and back to Your heart. Forever to stay and never depart.”
In this Advent season what does light symbolise for you?
Beautiful post…the lights symbolise Jesus to me and living by His example is how we can be a light for others. Telling the old old story is sharing the light for He did not send His light to be hid. Blessings.
The lights of Christingle are indeed symbolic of Christ's light in our darkness. It's a light that deserves and needs to be shared with others. Thank you for your lovely comment, Betty. May His light shine bright for you in this season. 🙂
Beautiful blog, Joy! The symbolism of light through Advent is so powerful, illuminating forgotten corners or places we sometimes try to keep the dimmer switch on so maybe He won't glimpse the dust & muck! I've held many Christingle services in the churches in my care over the years, and I love the way this service can bring all ages together as the elderly, parents, single people, children and everyone, with little need for complicated wordiness, can gather round the oranges pressing in the candle, the fruit or sweets, the ribbon, understanding a little more of the miracle of Christmas. I held a few "Jesse Tree" worship times, too, have you come across them? I loved getting different groups in the church to make the different symbols over the weeks of Advent ready to place on the tree for Christmas Day – powerful! Thanks as always for sharing! God bless XXX
So pleased it spoke to you, Joyce. This season always provokes memories of ways we have celebrated it before. Your "Jesse Tree" service is new to me. It sounds intriguing! Whatever helps to unite us in worship and praise of our Saviour is to be welcomed. God bless you as you celebrate Christ's birth. xx 🙂
Thanks for this, Joy. I loved your description of the Christmas service – it took me right there, with that mixture of awe and reverence and familiarity and tradition. I felt like I was in a service too. I love the quote at the end too – you are definitely someone who reflects the Light, however much you need to steer clear of light in real life.Thank you so much for this beautiful post, and for linking up.
I was a bit concerned about it being totally accurate for CofE worshippers, so I'm really glad it appealed to you, Tanya! It is an honour and privilege to connect with your Advent link-up. Ditto the lovely personal comment – back at you, sister! May you be blessed with the energy and strength to fully appreciate and enjoy the celebrations xx:)