Oh Chrismon Tree, O Chrismon Tree

Ever heard of a Chrismon Tree? We hadn't either, but it got its start in Virginia.

A chrismon is, in simplest terms, a monogram of Christ. Chrismons as ornaments are more than monograms; they may also tell about Jesus Christ, his life, ministry, activities, nature and teachings.

In 1957, Frances Spencer went to her church in Danville, Ascension Lutheran Church, and was quite displeased with the decorated Christmas tree there. While her goal was to get rid of the tree entirely, her minister instead tasked her with decorating the tree the next year.

After researching and trying to imagine herself in the shoes of Mary, the mother of Jesus, asking herself "How would Mary celebrate Jesus' birthday?", Mrs Spencer came up with Chrismons, a combination of the words Christ and Monogram.

Wanting to keep the tree elegant and in keeping with the formality of the white and gold ornaments, she and her husband spent hours scraping the colors off of light strings so the tree would have only white lights.

The tree was a hit with other parishoners, and Mrs. Spencer embraced the Chrismon tree idea thoroughly, writing guide books. As the beauty and meaning of Chrismons attracted people, she added other designs, which were copies of signs and symbols used by the earliest Christians.

This was the first Chrismon tree, which has become popular with many Churches throughout the world. Churches of every Christian denomination use Chrismon trees to communicate that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, as well as to help their members learn more about Jesus.

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