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What is a Chrismon?

    Chrismons are a type of Christmas tree decoration used in many churches and often in the homes of Christians. Chrismons (CHRISMONogram) are tree ornaments that proclaim our Lord Jesus Christ through the use of symbols. 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 wire, beads, ribbon and glitter.

   The Chrismons were first developed in 1957 by Mrs. Frances Kipps Spencer at Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia.  Mrs. Spencer set out to create decorations appropriate for a church Christmas tree and gave the copyright for the word "Chrismons" to Ascension. The Chrismons add their white and gold beauty to the Christmas season and make the celebration of our Lord's birth more meaningful by emphasizing God's great Gift to the world, our Savior Jesus Christ.

    The evergreen tree, which symbolizes the eternal life which our Savior has won for us, forms the background for tiny white lights and white and gold Chrismons designs. The lights speak of Him who is the light of the world, and the Chrismons ornaments proclaim the name, the life, and the saving acts of Jesus. White is the liturgical color for Christmas, and suggests the innocence, purity, and perfection of our Savior. It is the color of joy and light. Gold is a symbol for the glory and majesty of God and the Son of God.    

   Chrismon Reference Page
   Chrismon Instructional Books

Aldersgate's Chrismons


    Sign of the Fish - Early Christians used the fish widely as an easily made and recognized secret sign. During the times of the persecution of the church, Christians could find each other by using this simple password. To the outsider, the fish was a mere decoration; to the Christian, it was an affirmation of faith in the Christ.


   Latin Cross - While no one today truly knows the shape of the cross on which our Lord died, the church uses this form, the Latin Cross, most widely. Early Christians often combined the Alpha and Omega with the cross to declare the Savior's divinity.

    The Triquetra and Circle - The endless circle suggests eternity, God - the eternal One, eternal life with God. The triquetra, a complete figure which is composed of three separate and equal arcs, symbolized the one God who showed himself to man in three separate and distinct Persons.

Cross in Eternity

    Trinity - Three circles interposed symbolize
the unity of the Trinity, yet the separate Persons thereof.

    IOTA CHI - The Iota ( I ) is the first letter of our Lord's given name Jesus in Greek. This name means "the promised one." The Chi ( X ) is the first letter of His Greek title, Christ. The Greek word for Christ, Christos (XPISTOS), is the translation of the Hebrew  "Messiah", which means "the one anointed by God." When these two letters are superimposed, they become our Savior's cipher, the symbolic interweaving of initials that some people see as a star. 

    Star of Bethlehem or Eight Pointed Star - This pre-Christian figure, an eight-pointed star drawn without lifting the tool from the surface, was adopted by Christians as a "concealed" Chrismon during the Roman persecutions. When this design is used, one remembers that it was not always easy to be a Christian. In Christian symbolism, the eight-pointed star refers to regeneration through Holy Baptism.



Aldersgate's Christmas 2000 Crismon Tree

      Aldersgate's Christmas 2000
                Chrismon Tree






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This page was last reviewed on: March 22, 2012  


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