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notre dame montreal

What does it mean . . .?


Picture of a Christingle Orange Christingle - description in the page text Christingle

Christingle service are held in churches, usually between Advent and Candlemas. It is an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to join in, using oranges to create visible symbols of the Christian message.  

The Christingle has its origins in a Moravian children's service held in a castle in Germany on Christmas Eve in 1747. 

The bishop conducting the informal service gave each child a  lighted candle, tied with a red ribbon, in memory of the Saviour's coming which he said has kindled a flame in each heart which keeps burning "to His joy, and our happiness".

 Much later, this simple candle was replaced by a more elaborate Christingle which is rich in symbolism.

Our modern Christingle consists of:





  1. an orange representing the world
  2. a red ribbon, tied round the orange representing the blood of Jesus
  3. fruits and sweets, skewered on 4 cocktail sticks which are pushed into the orange representing God's good gifts - the fruits of the earth and the four seasons
  4. a lighted candle, pushed into the centre of the orange representing Christ, the light of the world

For many years churches all over the world have made Christingles to remind them that Christ is the light who came into the world at Christmas.
The Christingle orange represents the world, John reminds us that "Jesus was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognise Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him". (Jn 1 v 10 - 11). The red ribbon of the Christingle represents the blood of Jesus which was shed for us so that our sins may be forgiven. "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin". (1 Jn 1 v 7). The fruits and sweets on the four skewers represent God's gifts to us, the fruits of the earth and the four seasons. "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease". (Gen 8 v 22).

The lighted candle, pushed into the centre of the orange, represents Christ, the light of the world. "He [Jesus] said, "I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life"." (John 8 v 12).

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