The Duncan Banner

Religion

July 16, 2009

Chrismon symbols reflect true meaning of Christmas

DUNCAN — The Latin word “Chrismon” literally means the monogram of Christ. Chrismon symbols are used throughout the church, but especially at Christmas to represent the person and ministry of Christ.

Although it’s only July and the outdoor temperature hardly felt Christmas-y, a group gathered Tuesday at First United Methodist Church to renovate and replicate the church’s Chrismon ornaments for the coming Advent season.

Chrismon symbols are found in many places: on jewelry, buildings and in ancient catacombs. Early Christians used them to identify themselves and to transmit their faith and beliefs. By using these early symbols of faith to decorate a tree during the Advent season that precedes Christmas, the church proclaims the true meaning of Christmas.

On Tuesday morning, four women of the church were surrounded with bottles of glue, boxes of beads, reels of gold trim and stacks of forms cut from plastic foam on which to build their elegant creations.

As they worked, they reminisced about Advent seasons past, and memories of Chrismon trees. Jan Cole shared with the group that when she and her husband married during the Christmas season, the beautiful Chrismon tree was part of the setting.

Sadie Budlong said she remembers Chrismon trees at First United Methodist at least as far back as 1979. Since then, the fragile ornaments have been carefully wrapped and stored each year to preserve them for the next Advent season. Several times through the years, it has been necessary to repair or replace the ornaments, and groups have gathered to carry out the same tasks as were taking place this week.

All Chrismon ornaments s are made in combinations of white and gold — no traditional red-and-green ornaments for this special tree. White, the liturgical color for Christmas, refers to the Lord’s purity and perfection. Gold symbolizes his majesty and glory. By using white and gold lights on the tree, the congregation points to Christ as the Light of the World.

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