Across our county over the coming weeks there will be an excited buzz around our local churches as they gear up for Christmas with celebrations of the Christingle.
There can’t be many people now who have never heard of the Christingle which are made from an orange decorated with red tape, sweets and a candle which are lit during a celebration often in churches or schools.
Adopted by the Children’s Society it helps to raise funds for its work supporting young people.
In 2016 around 5000 Christingles taking place across the country raised a million pounds, £31,296.67 coming from churches across East and West Sussex.
It was in 1968 that John Pensom of The Children’s Society adapted the idea which actually began in Marienborn, Germany in 1747.
At a children’s service, the bishop wanted a simple way to explain the happiness that had come to people through Jesus.
His idea was to give the children a lighted candle wrapped in a red ribbon and at the end of the service, whilst the children held their candles, the bishop said the prayer, ‘Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children’s hearts that theirs like thine become.’
Today it involves children decorating an orange with a red ribbon, dried fruits, sweets and a candle to create a new visual representation of Christ, the light of the world, celebrated by the lighting of the Christingle candles.
Hellingly is just one church that will be celebrating.
It is a real joy every year to see the fun the children have both in making, where lots of sweets never make it to the oranges, but also in the service as the candles are lit.
The fun for children and parents alike is fantastic. A real start to Christmas!
Details of Christingles near you can be found on www.childrenssociety.org.uk/in-your-area