Holy Cross Day

The Brightness of the Lord's Glory Flashed Around Them

To decorate our trees and homes for Christmas, we make crismons, Christian symbols in white and gold, to remember our Lord and Savior.

The first is called the chi-rho (key-row) from the first two letters of Christ in Greek--it would be like calling it the c - h - r in English. (The x is the chi, and the p is the rho.) This symbol is frequently used on the paraments and other decorations of the church; the children enjoy looking for the chi-rho throughout the sanctuary once they have made it.

The second is a simple fish. Many of the disciples were fishermen, and remembering Jesus' promise that they would fish for people instead of fish, early Christians often used this symbol to identify themselves to one another.

The third symbol is a manger, for the Baby Jesus born in Bethlehem.

Other symbols which are appropriate for chrismons may be found in Symbols and Terms of the Church, by Mark P. Bangert, published by Augsburg Fortress.

The easiest material to use is fun foam, found at all craft stores, and a variety of gold beads, cords, and ribbons or braid. Use a glue gun or Tacky Glue to glue the braid onto the fun foam, and glue a gold cord on the back to use as a hanger.

The adult version involves Styrofoam, pearls, beads, sequins, and pins, and is much more difficult, though worth the effort.

Other Christmas crafts and projects could be the gift of new binders, the heavenly suncatchers (which also are built around the chi-rho) or the star of Epiphany. And the plates are nice for giving cookies or other gifts to shut-ins.

And if you need a quiet, serene in-class project on this last Sunday of Advent, have the children make new spines for their binders.


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