2005-11-24 / Front Page

Carols, Chrismon ornaments highlight FBC Sunday service

First Baptist Church of Washington will begin the Christmas season with a “Carol and Chrismon Service” on Sunday evening, November 27, at 7 p.m.

Members of the church extend and invitation to everyone in the community to join them in this celebration.

The service will include the reading of the Christmas story from Luke and Matthew, the singing of beloved and familiar carols, a candlelight dedication and the lighting of the Chrismon tree. Soloists for the evening will be Katie Trimm, Leslie Souther, Sarah Peacock, and Teresa Bishop.

The large 12 foot evergreen Chrismon tree will be decorated in beautiful, handcrafted gold and white Chrismon ornaments. Kay Nelms, director of the program, has given the following explanation of Chrismons.

Chrismons originated in 1957 by Frances Kipps Spencer of the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia. At this time Mrs. Spencer began thinking of a way to decorate the Christmas tree in her church that would be more suitable for a sanctuary. She began by trying to imagine herself in the shoes of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

She asked, “How would Mary celebrate Jesus’ birthday?” The answer from our time and culture would be to have a cake and candles with His name on it. Mrs. Spencer then looked upon the traditional Christmas tree as a cake and placed on the tree the name Jesus and Christ. Instead of using the name and title in English, however, she used Greek monograms. Thus the letters in Greek, “Chi Rho,” (XP) became one of the earliest Chrismons because they are monograms for Christos, the Greek word for Christ.

A Chrismon is a monogram of Christ. But the Chrismon ornaments are more than monograms, they may also tell about Jesus Christ. As the designs grew in number, they included reference to the life, ministry, activities, and teachings of Jesus. Each ornament was designed to proclaim a truth about God as seen in Jesus.

All Chrismons are made in a combination of white and gold to symbolize the purity and majesty of the Son of God and the Son of Man. Materials used in creating the ornaments are white Styrofoam, pearls, gold mesh, sequins, fringe, braids, beads, and wire.

In 1992, Rosemary Hopkins heard of the Chrismon ornaments. It was he vision to decorate the sanctuary at First Baptist with a large evergreen tree covered in the lovely white and gold ornaments. Since that time many Chrismon ornaments have been hand-crafted according to the directions in the books written by Mrs. Spencer, the originator of Chrismons.

Following the program, a fellowship will be held in the Mary Callaway Burton Fellowship Hall. There will be a delicious array of finger foods and the elegant Christ Cake prepared by Kermit Hocutt.

Mrs. Nelms explained the Christ Cake. The Christ Cake is white in color to demonstrate the purity of God. It has three tiers to show that our God had revealed Divinity in three distinct ways, as the Creator, as Son, and as Holy Spirit.

Around the base of the cake are placed 21 red candles to represent the 21 centuries since His birth has taken place. The candles are red to demonstrate the joy that all humankind has experienced because of the redemption of Christ.

On top of the cake is placed an angel to represent the angels (Holy Messengers) that appeared to the shepherds, as they watched their flocks by night, to announce to them the birth of the Messiah. Near the cake is placed a silver candlestick with one tall white candle to show that Christ who was born at Christmas was the Perfect Light of the world.

Return to top