Indra’s blog; About Christmas and being grateful
We are on our way. Again. Waiting in a plane. Beside me are two fed-up boys that had to get up way too early and then were being told that we have to sit and wait in the plane for an 1.5 hour delay as there is a problem on the runway. Well, at least there is not a problem with our plane. Let’s stay positive. After all, Christmas is almost there and boy are we in the Christmas spirit. However, let’s be honest. Two under-six’ sitting still in a plane ‘ready for take-off’ while nothing is happening will undoubtedly prove a bit more challenging. We will see.
While waiting in these very early hours we are all still tired. Not completely light outside yet, most people doze off a bit. I don’t really get that chance with two awake boys. We talk about yesterday and what a good day it was. We laugh that we could use those Christingles now to light up the space a bit.
Yesterday, it was the last day before the holidays and the school celebrated a Christingle service in Church. In the Netherlands we never did this, so last year was the first time I have seen it. I must say, I find it very lovely and heart-warming when all the church lights go out and the little kids stand singing, in a large circle through the church, with just their orange candles (Christingles) lit. It really makes my heart melt.
I found out that it all started with John de Watteville in Germany in 1747 in his Moravian Church congregation as he tried to get children to think about Jesus. Then it was just a candle with a red ribbon given to each child. It became popular in the UK in 1968 when John Pensom (aka “Mr Christingle”) used it as a fundraising event for the Children’s Society charity.
My eldest son was most intrigued by the red ribbon and that it was ‘the blood of Christ’. I think he told me every single day for the past week. According to the website of the Children’s Society he is right and each element of a Christingle has a special meaning and helps to tell the Christian story.
The symbolism of the Christingle:
• The orange represents the world
• The red ribbon (or tape) symbolises the love and blood of Christ
• The sweets and dried fruit represent all of God’s creations
• The lit candle represents Jesus’s light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.
If you want to have a go at making a Christingle; Here you can watch a tutorial video on how to make one.
Our school service still raises funds for the Children’s Society and the Church itself. The Children’s Society help children who are facing Christmas alone and are unable to cope. They fight child poverty, abuse and neglect, and help all children have a better chance in life. If you want to support this society click this link to donate.
I am just very grateful and I always feel this is just the time to realise it and feel the warmth of the festivities, Christingle or not. I am grateful for the people around me, for being able to spend my Christmas with my children and family and they are not alone. Grateful that I can buy them gifts they will love, but nothing over the top as in the Netherlands it is not so much about gift giving, but more about spending time together and lots of food (three days of it). Grateful to see my boys being happy, healthy and so, so very excited for Santa to come along. The excitement can be a bit tiring, but it is the best time really. Grateful to be able to see them open their chocolate advent calendars (I know… naughty dentist … but in my defence, they do brush after that though) and look at that little piece of chocolate and enjoy it.
Grateful for the time they will have playing with their cousins the coming days, who they love so much, but see so little. Grateful the boys still have all their grandparents in their lives and the hugs and smiles they sent their way.
In the practice, we all love Christmas and I think we can all look back to happy childhood Christmas memories. How lucky are we! We start counting down to Christmas when it is on nobody’s radar yet. We have been enjoying the Christmas songs for weeks and they can never start too early for me. We loved Secret Santa, work celebrations, Alison’s glittery eyeliner, everybody’s festive cheer and lots of laughter. The yearly return of Tamsin’s props does not go amiss either.
I love having a real Christmas tree and the smell that fills our house because of it. I heard, in Poland the tree is not taken down until the 2nd of February. I might need to start a new tradition as that does not fit in with neither my Dutch or my emigrated British part, but it sound like a plan to me.
Oh, well… we are all people of the world after all. Let’s see what my husband thinks of that..….
I wish you a warm hearth and the best festive time to come and hope you feel grateful and loved too, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. Let’s light a candle for those that are alone anyway!