‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’.
The Christingle Service
What is Christingle all about?
The word Christingle means the Christ-light. And the tradition of Christingle goes back a very long way. It began way back in 1747, when a pastor of a church in Germany, a John de Watteville, wanted to help his congregation understand about God’s love for the world. And so he came up with the Christingle. It became popular within Germany and soon other churches in other countries began to use it.
Today the Christingle has been adopted by The Children’s Society as a way of reminding the churches in this country of their responsibility before God for the well-being of our nation’s children.
The Christingle is an orange which has a red ribbon around it. Also mounted in the orange are four cocktail sticks, each carrying some sweets. The orange represents the world, and the sweets remind us of all the good gifts that God has given us in Creation. We enjoy these gifts every day of our lives.
Think of all things that you enjoy in this beautiful world of ours – God has given these things to us because He loves us.
On top of the Christingle there is a candle. This stands for Jesus, the Light of the World. God sent him into the world to light our way back to God.
So – we have the world, the gifts of creation, and the light of Christ to show us the truth. But there is one more thing to notice about the Christingle – the red ribbon. It stands for the blood of Christ. He came into the world not just to visit us, but for a purpose: to die in order to take the pain and the sin of the world upon himself. This means that when you do something wrong to someone, and you feel bad about it, you can go to God and know that you are forgiven.
So – the orange, the sweets, the candle and the red ribbon. A Christingle to remind us of what Jesus did in coming to earth over 2000 years ago. When we have a Christingle service in Church a collection is normally taken for the Church of England charity the Childrens Society to support the good work that they do in looking after vulnerable children in this country.
'Can I have a word please?' said Solomon 'in private, if you please'. The inn-keeper came across and whispered something to Solomon who listened carefully, then nodded, understanding. Donald was even colder than he had been before when across came Solomon who said 'you can share my bed' said Solomon. 'The innkeeper says it is okay, but only because it is so cold, and because your lady is expecting a baby'.
Paxo was just tucking himself into bed, next to Milly Molly and Mandy when in walked Donald and Solomon and two people, a man and a woman. Solomon gave up his bed and later that night Donald and Solomon even had to give up their feeding trough or manger because the woman had a baby and was placed in the manger to keep warm.
Donald the Donkey (part Two)
Donald the donkey was grumpy. That is to say, he was his normal self. 'Humph' said Donald 'I am tired and grumpy'.
It all started when Donald had agreed to take them from his nice warm home in Nazareth all the way to a little town called Bethlehem. It had been a long walk, with lots of hills to climb up.
Donald had been walking all day with only two or three little stops for a drink of water and some sweet smelling hay. It had been a long way, and Donald got very tired. 'Are we nearly there yet?' Mary kept asking. When Donald the donkey got to the top of the hill and he could see the town he had forgotten himself and become excited and happy. His journey was nearly over. But that was hours ago when he was cold and tired. Now he was in a warm stable but he was still very tired and just as grumpy. Donald the donkey put his head down and swished his tail and yawned the biggest yawn you have ever heard 'Yawn' 'Shhh' said a small voice. 'Who said that?' asked Donald. 'That was me' said the small voice again 'please be quiet'. Donald lifted his head and there in front of him was a small brown face, with whiskers, and two bright black eyes, poking its head from the edge of a huge pile of hay. Donald had just met Marvin the Mouse.
'The baby's asleep' said Marvin 'don't wake him now'.
'But how can he sleep when there have been so many visitors?' asked Donald. First the inn-keeper's wife came to visit bringing some hot water and towels, then HE arrived, what a noise that was. Then when I had just got back to sleep again, in came those shepherds with Baatholomew the lamb, who has been baa-ing ever since. They told us about the angels who visited them and told them about 'a saviour who is Christ the Lord'. How can you get to sleep when Baatholomew keeps baa-ing?
It has been so noisy. I was just about to go to sleep when in came those disgusting camels, burping and slurping as they had a drink, I really tried not to say 'you stink'. With those camels came those kings with presents of gold and frankincense and myrrh. 'It's been so noisy hasn't it' said Marvin, 'but aren't you excited? It's Christmas'
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Donald the Donkey
On a cold winter's night Donald the donkey was shivering. 'I hope we get somewhere soon' he thought to himself as he'd been walking for hours and had arrived in Bethleham hours before, but all the places to stay were full.
Donald was playing taxi for a young woman who was expecting a baby. 'It's a bit cold to be outside isn't it?' said Donald to a nosey chicken called Paxo, who had come out to the front of the inn to see what all the fuss was about. 'If you had any sense' continued Paxo you would have been tucked up in bed hours ago like my girls were' and yes, Milly, Molly and Mandy Had gone to bed hours before, because they didn't like the dark.
'It's not my fault' said Donald the donkey. 'This silly man forgot to book a room for the night and everywhere is full. We've been round everywhere and this is the very first place that we came to... but we've come here again. Just to make sure there's still no room.'
Paxo was a very bright chicken, and he could tell a cold donkey when he saw one, and he knew that the young woman was freezing. Paxo said 'stay here a minute' and he hurried off to have a word with his friend Solomon. 'THERE you are' said Paxo as he entered he stable and saw his friend Solomon the horse.'I've got a job for you Solomon'. Solomon was his master's favourite horse , and he listened to Paxo carefully and felt very sorry for the young woman. 'Wait here' said Solomon 'I will go and speak to the inn keeper'. So Solomon trotted off and went out of the courtyard just in time to see boss sending the young woman away again.