The Christingle service

When is Advent?
The Advent Season begins on the Sunday four weeks before Christmas Day, which is either the fourth Sunday in November or the first Sunday in December.

AdventWhat does 'Advent' mean?
The word Advent comes from the Latin word 'adventus' which means arrival or coming.

Why do we celebrate Advent?
Advent is the beginning of the church year and we look forward to, and prepare for, the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

St James's Christingle Service
At St James's Church, the first Sunday in December is an All-age Christingle Service. St James's Players accompany the hymns and play other music during the service. The uniformed groups join the service and carry their flags in a colourful parade through the church. They often help during the service or afterwards at the Parish Breakfast alongside the Sunday School.

A christingleTowards the end of the service, every member of the congregation is given a Christingle and then we all form a circle in the darkened church. The Christingles are then lit and we pray and sing. The collection at our annual Christingle Service always goes to The Children’s Society.

Christingles are a symbol of Christ's light and love. The Children's Society introduced them to the Church of England in 1968 and they have since become a regular part of celebrating the beginning of Advent. Children often help to make the Christingles.

The Christingle itself is made up of the following:
An orange which represents the world and all it provides.
A lighted candle, stuck into the orange, which represents Jesus, the Light of the World and helps us see in the darkness.
A red ribbon or tape around the middle of the orange shows God's love to be present everywhere, stretching to all. 
Four cocktail sticks bearing dried fruit and sweets stuck into the orange signify the four seasons and the fruits of the earth.

The wreathSt James's Sunday Services during Advent
We make an Advent Wreath. This is circular with four red candles placed around it and a fifth white candle in the centre. The outer candles are lit week by week during the Advent Sunday services, one candle in the first week, two in the second week and so on. The candle in the centre, called the Christ candle, is lit only on Christmas morning, to mark the birth of Christ, the light of the world. It is white, the colour associated with angels and the birth of Jesus. The unlit candles represent darkness which gradually gives way to the light of God coming into the world through the birth of his son Jesus, as the candles are lit week by week. 

The church colour for Advent is purple, a sign of royalty, as we prepare for the coming of Christ the King. The frontal on the altar, the altar cloths, the pulpit fall and the Bible book mark are changed to match the colour of the priest's robes. 

Read the Christingle prayers that the Sunday School have written on the page Christingle Prayers and read about their Jesse Tree.