What is a Christingle?

Christingle comes from the old German word “Christkindl”, which translated means “Little Christ Child”. The Christingle is a symbolic object used in the Christmas season to celebrate Jesus Christ as the “Light of the “World”.

Christingles are usually made with an orange, where the orange represents the earth and a candle is pushed into the orange to represent Jesus as the light of the world. A red ribbon is around the orange which symbolizes the blood of Jesus. Fruits or candy pushed onto cocktail sticks represent the goodness of Jesus to his people.

The tradition of the Christingle goes back as far as 1747 to a German bishop named Johannes de Watteville. The Bishop was looking for a way to show happiness that Jesus brought to the people and did with a candle with a red ruff. John Pensom at Lincoln Cathedral popularised the tradition in the UK in 1948 he was raising money for the Children’s Society

In the early 70s, the Christingle tradition wasn’t yet very widespread as only 20 churches in UK raised money for the Children’s Society. It wasn’t until the 1980s when first Christingle service was held in Westminster Abbey that the Christingle tradition gained big popularity. Today more than 1 million people attend a Christingle service in the UK each year.

One of the best ways to celebrate a Christingle service, such as in your Sunday school or church group can be with a Christmas song. At Out Of The Ark can find many great songs that cover each part of the Christingle in a way that is easy and fun for the children and the adults! Wanting to do a little bit more even? How about a nativity play this Christmas season? You can find nativity scripts for children of any age, from plays for small groups to large nativity plays with many songs and speaking parts for many children!

Choosing and Writing Childrens Worship Songs

Choosing songs for your kids to sing in Sunday school can be a bit of a minefield, everyone will have their favourites, some kids will love to do actions and others (often the boys) will refuse to join in with actions unless you make an extra effort to get them involved, or perhaps some are just embarrassed by singing in front of people. So here are some things which you might find helpful when choosing songs.

  1. Volume – if your music is played too quietly, it will always be an uphill struggle to get children really engaged. This could literally mean just how loud your hi-fi speakers are, but I would also like to include in this your enthusiasm. If you are enthusiastic in singing along to songs in childrens worship times, some kids will jump straight in with you, more will follow them and hopefully you’ll have a tidal wave of little singers
  2. Simplicity – don’t underestimate how much kids love a simple tune, make it easy to pick up and with short phrases. Songs with long lines are much harder for them to absorb. Repetitive rhythms and melody lines will also mean children pick up on the tunes quickly and are able to get excited about the songs themselves.
  3. Theme – often this might just go over their heads, but if you can tie your choice of childrens worship songs in to the rest of the lesson, perhaps you’ve been learning about the feeding of the five thousand, or perhaps cutting and sticking out fish and loaves of bread in a creative time, then pick it up in the worship time too! It’s often one of those organisational opportunities that just don’t occur to us, but tying songs into other activities or stories will help cement the theme into their memory. Nothing helps you learn like singing songs. Nothing.
  4. Actions – not something for everyone, at least to start with, but actions amplify words. Getting kids to use their bodies to worship is such a great opportunity, but they need encouragement to find the confidence to do it. Start simple, be enthusiastic and show them the actions as you work through the song. You can always add more of them in as the kids learn the basics.
  5. Clapping – if there are no actions, find a few spots in the worship song where the children can clap along, or accent a particular word or note.

 

Not all of these will work all the time, but at least it’s a starting point.

Incidentally, if any of you are song writers, these points are also really helpful to bear in mind while you are writing. Keep your melodies simple and repetitive – that’s catchy. Actions are great but again – keep them simple please, if they’re complex then they are difficult for use to teach!