Derived from the Latin phrase “Christi Monogramma,” meaning “monogram of Christ,” chrismons are symbols used to represent a variety of biblical and theological concepts. They may be most familiar as ornaments on a tree, such as we have here at First UMC. Chrismons are based on ancient Christian symbols and used by a variety of Christian denominations. Two colors are used in the making and design of chrismons—white and gold. Gold to signifies the majesty of Christ, and white symbolizes his purity.
The Chrismon Tree originated in 1957 at the Ascension Lutheran church in Danville, Virginia. Frances Kipps Spencer took on the project of decorating her church’s Christmas tree and wanted to use something more than just colored balls and other secular ornaments. Spencer began to make decorations using the colors white, gold and silver than were symbols of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and the meaning of Christmas. The practice soon caught on with other Christians and many churches, and today the Chrismon Tree is a common sight all over the United States.
In her introduction to the book “Chrismons Basic Series,” Mrs. Spencer says “The Chrismon tree is complete only when those who see it understand its meaning.” Our hope with this booklet is to help our congregation understand the meaning of these beautiful symbols of the Advent season. In the pages ahead, you’ll find photographs of First UMC’s Chrismons and a brief explanation about the history and meaning of each one.
We are blessed to have a wide variety of these beautiful Chrismons for our trees here at First United Methodist Church. This would not be possible without the love, care, time and attention to detail of many volunteers who have worked on creating and maintaining our collection over the years. We thank you for your time and service in creating these symbols of the season.