A closer look at Chrismons


The Chrismon Team will present Chrismons to the children at the conclusion of the Services of Lessons and Carols at 9 and 11 am on Sunday, December 21st. 

By Jane Britt

The word “Chrismon” is a combination of the words “Christ” and “monogram.” The word Chrismon has been adopted to refer to special Christmas tree ornaments that have been developed to display symbols of Christ. The designs of the Chrismons have over the years been extended to represent symbols of Christianity.

Chrismons were first used to decorate a tree at Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Va., in the 1940s. Frances Kipps Spencer made the first Chrismons. She made the name a trademark in 1957 and began the Chrismon ministry that the church continues today.

Chrismons are traditionally colored white and gold. White is the liturgical (or Church) color for Christmas and symbolizes that Jesus was pure and perfect. Gold symbolizes His Majesty and Glory.

St. John’s has decorated at least one Chrismon tree since the 1950s. The large tree in the sanctuary has close to 400 ornaments made by St. John’s members over the years. This year, the Chrismon Ministry Team will decorate the big tree in the Sanctuary, a tree in the Chapel, a small tree in the lobby area and a tree for the ARC Festival of Trees display at the Trolley Barn. The ARC Tree is sponsored by Franco Goodman.

The wood ornaments, cut out by Benjamin Goodman, are decorated with white and gold beads by the Chrismon Ministry Team. The theme this year is “Anchored in Christ.”

A few of the St. John’s Chrismons will be featured on the church bulletins during Advent. It will be a great time to take a closer look at the Chrismon trees: count the number of different crosses, discover how many shields are on the tree or look up the meanings of some of the different symbols.


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