Churches adopting Chrismon trees

Posted: 12/20/05

Churches adopting Chrismon trees

By Terri Jo Ryan

Special to the Baptist Standard

The Chrismons (CHRISt-MONogramS) ornaments were first developed in 1957 by Frances Kipps Spencer of Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Va., when she set out to create decorations appropriate for a church Christmas tree.

An evergreen tree, ancient symbol of eternal life, forms the background for tiny white lights and gold Chrismons designs, based on biblical and theological concepts familiar to believers.

The symbols used are interdenominational and the heritage of all Christians. Chrismons are a type of Christmas Tree decoration used in many churches and often in the homes of Christians. The symbols used represent a variety of biblical and theological concepts that are well known among most believers.

Technically, if the ornaments on a Christmas tree are comprised mostly of Christian symbols, the tree is known as a “Chrismon Tree.” Most Chrismons are white with gold decorations of beads, ribbon and glitter.

Common Chismons incorporate images of fish—an symbol for Christ, the Greek word for “Fish” forming an acrostic that spells out “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”—along with the cross, stars, angels, the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, taken from the New Testament passage: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Rev. 22:13)

Another more complex symbol is formed of a superimposed “X” and “P”. X is the greek letter Chi, and the P is the Greek letter Rho—the first two letters in the name “Christ” spelled in Greek (Xpistos).

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