Creating Spiritual Connections

for Young People

& the young at heart

spirituality
chrismons

home
 

spirituality
 

 


The word ‘Chrismon’ is made from two words,  CHRISt and MONograms. They are monograms and symbols of Christ.  I use these symbols and monograms to help youth make a spiritual connection and relationship with God.

Symbols are signs, pictures or things we can see which help bring to mind a being or an ideal we cannot see.   James Horath, the composer said, “Pyramids and other symbols are humankind’s way of reaching up to God.”  Dr. Laura Artress in Walking the Sacred Path says, “Symbols are the mind’s way of reaching the soul.”  I use symbols as a means of  helping the young person (and all of us) reach, touch or speak to God. 

CHRISMONS are such symbols. They come from the life of Jesus Christ and as we work on them or gaze on them we take the stories into ourselves to reach our soul, to reach God.

CHRISMONS were created by Francis K. Spencer and she has given all rights to the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Danville, Virginia.  The church owns the trademark and the copyrights.  Please check their web site: www.chrismon.org/site/chrismon.htm.  They have several books available to learn much more than can be described here.

CHRISMONS are exquisite.  They are created with beads and made with the colors gold and white, the colors of Christmas.  Wanting to use these to help young people know the history of these symbols, the history of Jesus Christ and to touch their soul I was inspired by the ‘How to Substitute section in the first book, Chrismons, Basic Series. on page 36.  Styrofoam was suggested.  I used the patterns and started slowly with those Chrismons that would be easy to decorate and the reason for the symbol would be easy to remember.  The reason for the use of gold and white was taught and no deviations were allowed. 

Each year in the Advent workshop I introduce a new one and have available the cut-out Styrofoam ones from years past for new students.  I keep track of which ones the youth have made and I encourage the youth to keep them from Christmas to Christmas.  If Vacation Bible School studies include a symbol then these will be made during VBS and saved, labeled and given to the child at Christmas.  i.e.  The Star of David.  A baptism in the congregation was remembered with the baptism Chrismon.  Most Chrismons have two sizes from which to choose, a larger size and a smaller size.  I suggest that the larger size could be hung in a window to say, “A Christian who believes in Jesus Christ lives here.”  The smaller size looks nice on the Christmas tree. 

A bulletin board helps with the learning process
and gives ideas for decorating. 

THE EPIPHANY ROSE AND STAR

            The rose can symbolize our Lord, His Mother, or His nativity. 
            Because it refers to His birth, when He took on our flesh,
             it especially symbolizes His human nature.

             The star points to His divinity.
             “Epiphany” is from a Greek word meaning the appearance
             or revelation of a god.

             The Epiphany Star has 5 points and refers specifically
             to the revelation or showing of Jesus as the Son of God.
             A combination of the rose and the 5-pointed star in one design
             shows the two natures of the Christ: He is true God and true Man.

THE STYLIZED FISH

            The early Christians used the fish as a secret sign.  
            During the times of the persecution of the early Church,
            Christians could find one another by using this simple password.
            To the outsider, the fish was a mere decoration.
            To the Christian it held deep significance.  
             In the catacombs, fish were drawn on the walls 
             to direct worshipers to meeting places. 
             Think of all the stories in the teachings and stories of Jesus
             that include fish.

             In 1963, a news story reported that Cuban Christians,
             when they found themselves in a situation similar to that faced
             by the first Christians, revived the use of this emblem.

             Many times the fish is decorated with the ICHTHUS  (IXOYC)
             which is the Greek word for fish.  These letters form an acrostic
             on the Greek phrase, 
             Jesus (I) Christ (X), God’s (O) Son (Y), Saviour  (C).

THE CHI-RHO

            One of the best known symbols is the Chi-Rho. 
            It is the first two letters of the Greek word CHRISTOS  (XPISTOS)
            – in English, Christ.
            It is the oldest monogram for Christ and was commonly used by
            the early church.
            It very well may be older than the cross as a symbol for Christ.
                        (For the early church it was painful to use the cross as a symbol.
                         It stood for shame and death.)
            Chi = X                            Rho = P

 THE LATIN CROSS

            No one really knows the shape of the cross on which Jesus died,
            however, the church uses this form, the Latin Cross.
            Sometimes it is called the ‘Passion’ Cross.

            The Cross was NOT one of the earliest symbols. 
            In the beginning the cross was a symbol of shame,
            of disgrace for the worst kind of criminal, a political rabble-rouser.

THE BAPTISMAL SHELL

            In ancient paintings John the Baptist is shown pouring water
            on Jesus’  head from a large shell. A scallop shell is the
            symbol of pilgrimage.
            Pilgrims used these shells as utensils.
            The three drops of water in this symbol represent the Father,
            Son and Holy Spirit.

8 POINTED CONCEALED STAR

            The 8-pointed star is a pre-Christian figure.
            It is drawn without removing the tool from the surface and was
            adopted by Christians as a “concealed” Chrismon during the
            Roman persecutions.
            In the crossing lines,  Chi’s (X) and crosses were visible to believers.
            Remember it wasn’t always easy to be a Christian, even in name.
            In Christian symbolism, the 8-pointed star
            refers to our higher spiritual nature through Holy Baptism.

THE STAR OF DAVID
THE JESSE TREE STAR
THE CREATION STAR
THE TRINITY STAR

This star is composed of two triangles, with each point representing one of the days of creation by God.  In a single triangle each point represents one of the three persons in the Godhead:  Father, Son, Holy Spirit  or  Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.   Some have used the six points of the star to refer to six attributes of God:  power, wisdom, majesty, love, mercy, and justice.

THE TRIANGLE AND TREFOIL

The triangle and the trefoil are two symbols for the
  holy Trinity.
The triangle, one of the oldest and most common symbols for
  the Triune, has three distinct parts united into perfect whole
The trefoil, also of three equal parts, is a modification of
  three interlaced circles which suggests the eternal nature
  of the three Persons.