|Do you have Christmas traditions?
Things your family does every year without which it wouldn’t feel like Christmas?
Maybe you open one present on Christmas Eve or eat an entire selection box for breakfast on Christmas morning. Perhaps you always have to have a game of charades or a bracing walk on Boxing Day.
For me, I know that Christmas has started once I’ve been to the Christingle service - that’s the moment that I stop worrying about whether I’ve got all the right presents and how we’re all going to cope sleeping in one room at my parents and let the awe and wonder of the Christmas story fill my heart.
If you’ve never been to a Christingle service - here’s a little snapshot of how it looks. If the Christingle is part of your family’s tradition already, you’ll recognise the familiar rhythm and ritual that make this service so special.
The Church is softly lit with candles and twinkling lights. The seats are packed with children and their extended families and friends. There’s a quiet buzz of excitement rippling round as they are welcomed and the first notes of a familiar carol begin. People who might not have sung like this all year enjoy raising the roof in the chorus. Between the carols the children are invited to the front. They sit, crossed legged listening to the storyteller read the story of the First Christmas. Sometimes the story is funny, sometimes it’s magical, but it’s always beautiful to see the sparkle in their eyes as they listen.
Next we learn about the Christingle itself. A tradition from the Moravian church, we use an orange, a candle and some sweets to symbolise Jesus, the light of the world coming to live amongst us. The candles are (carefully) lit and each child stands transfixed as Away in a Manger is sung. At the end of the service people spill out of church into the cold night air, taking the Light of the World with them into Christmas.
Everyone is welcome to our Christingle services 4pm, Christmas Eve at Timperley Methodist and at Altrincham Methodist too.
Jackie Davies, Children’s Worker