New Chrismons for Advent & Christmas
|505 E. Commerce
Mexia Texas 76667-4125
The Chrismon Tradition
Chrismons, a combination of CHRISt+ MONogram, are symbolic tree decorations of the Christian faith representing Christ or some part of Christ's ministry. The tradition of making Chrismons began in 1957 with Mrs. Frances Kipps Spencer for her church, Ascension Lutheran Church, in Danville, Virginia. Rather than a Christmas tree with shiny generic decorations, she wanted a way to depict the Christian faith through symbolic ornaments on the tree, reminders of the true meaning of Christmas. And, so, the Chrismon tree came to be. Mrs. Spencer's guidelines were that these ornaments were to be made by hand in love and never sold but given in love. There are 55 original symbols such as various crosses and stars, dove, Greek letters, fish, crown, angels, and others. White (purity) and Gold (majesty) are the primary colors that are used.
Some years back, our parish members got together and made Chrismons for our tree that we decorate at the start of Advent. Over time, these ornaments have become worn, so it was time to take on the challenge of making new ones. Several stitchers, both experienced and beginners, started the project in July 2022 and cross stitched 12 new Chrismons that are adaptations of Mrs. Spencer's designs. They are stitched on white cloth in three shades of gold. As Mrs. Spencer would desire, they were stitched with love and are given in love to Christ Episcopal Church, Mexia for the Chrismon tree. On Sunday, December 4, Fr. Ray blessed the new Chrismons, and they were hung on the church's Chrismon tree for all to reflect upon and to enjoy.
The Chrismon SymbolsLeft to Right from Top of Image
Latin Cross with Alpha and Omega The Latin cross is most widely used in the church. The Latin cross leg is longer than the arms are wide. Early Christians combined alpha and omega with the cross to declare Christ's divinity.
Cross in Eternity Combines the Latin cross and a never-ending circle suggesting eternal life with God, by way of the cross, through Jesus.
Epiphany Star and Rose The five-point star and white rose symbolize Christ and Mary, showing both His humanity and divinity. The Hebrew form of Mary is Miriam, meaning star. Epiphany is when the Wise Men, representing the gentiles, paid tribute to the Christ child. "The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." Isaiah 35:1
IHS The first three letters (Ι-Iota, Η-Eta, Σ-Sigma) of the name Jesus in the Greek alphabet (ΙΗϹΟΥϹ or ΙΗΣΟΥΣ) to remind us of Jesus and the life He lived.
Greek Cross All extensions, or arms, are of equal length. It probably was developed by early Greek artists as a more perfect form. At one time, it was used to show loyalty to the Eastern Church.
Three Entwined Circles Three interwoven circles of equal size indicate the equality, eternity, and unity of the three persons in the Trinity.
Stylized Fish Early Christians used the fish as a secret sign of recognition during times of Roman persecution. The letters for ichthus, the Greek word for fish, are down the center of the fish Chrismon: Ι-lota-Jesus, Χ-Chi-Christ, Θ-Theta-God, Υ-Upsilon-Son, Σ-Sigma-Savior.
Iota Chi Iota (Ι) is the first letter of Jesus in Greek, which means the promised one. Chi (Χ) is the first letter of His Greek title Christ, meaning Messiah in Hebrew: the one anointed by God. These letters, superimposed, become our Savior's cipher.
Triguetra a symmetrical triangular ornament of three interlaced arcs used on metalwork and stone crosses. and Circle The endless circle suggests eternity. Three separate and equal arcs symbolize the one God who showed Himself to man in three separate and distinct persons, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Chi Rho with Alpha and Omega Chi Rho (ΧΡ) was used by the early church because the shame and pain of the cross was too immediate to use the sign of a cross openly. ΧΡ are the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ (ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ). Alpha (Α) and Omega (Ω), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, when linked with ΧΡ show the eternalness of Christ: the beginning and the end.
Eight-Pointed Star Eight is symbolically used to mean regeneration through Holy Baptism. Baptismal fonts are commonly eight-sided.
Cross Atop Orb This symbolizes Christ's dominion over the earth and the command, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…" Matthew 18:20
All information and patterns are reprinted from Chrismons Cross Stitch Patterns, by Posey Lough, 2010, Ascension Lutheran Church, Danville VA. Designs adapted by Western KY/TN Stitchers Chapter of the Embroiders' Guild of America with The Posy Collection. Chrismons is a registered trademark of Ascension Lutheran Church, Danville VA. All information is reprinted with permission from the Ascension Lutheran Church.
Finisher: Stacey Horne Morales
For Questions or Comments, Contact the Christ Church Webmaster.