Nancy Pace Ford

Nancy Pace Ford at work on her Chrismon project

Christmas Tree with Chrisoms

The tree decorated by the children in the family service on Christmas Eve.

Chrismons are Christian symbols that we regularly see or use in the Church. There are 24 Christian symbols represented in these Chrismons. They are: Alpha and Omega, Chi-Rho, Ark and Rainbow, Descending Dove (Holy Spirit descending on Pentecost), Jerusalem Cross, Seashell (baptism), Manger (Jesus’ birth), Scroll (Torah-Bible), Star of David, Anchor, Latin Cross, Calvary Cross, Lyre (music), Triangle, Circle and Triangle, Crown of Thorns, Cross and Crown, Grapes (wine) IHS, Celtic Cross, Lamp, Fish, Butterfly, and the Crosslet.

Last Christmas I noted that COOS had a Christmas tree with white lights and no ornaments on it. As I have made greater than 60 of these Chrismons in the past, I spoke with the head of the Altar Guild to see if they would like handmade Chrismons for the tree. Then I spoke with Father David to get his permission. I showed several people Chrismons I had already made.

As there are three shades of gold thread on the Chrismon, I thought it would be very appropriate to have these on the church Christmas tree. While red and green are used in our Christian calendar, they are more closely associated with secular aspects of Christmas and white/gold is used for Christmas in the church.

I decided to made two of each of the 24 symbols for a total of 48, to be sure that we had plenty to cover the tree. The material is Aida cloth, 14 count, which was donated by a Christian sister of mine. I purchased the cotton batting to give the Chrismon substance inside, fish material for the backing and ribbon to hang the Chrismons on the Christmas tree. I returned to Hobby Lobby (a good Christian business) to pick up more fish material, muslin for backing and cotton batting to make a Christmas tree skirt that matched the ornaments.

Some of the symbols

So how long did it take? As anyone who does a project, a craft, woodworking, pottery, etc, will tell you, you can’t quantify the time. You just do it! But when and where did I do the cross stitch? Yes, I actually stitched in church, both at Beaches Museum Chapel and at our current location.

One God-Thing is that I cross-stitched the descending dove on PENTECOST during the service. Other places were in Ireland last May where I felt the Celtic Cross was appropriate to stitch. I worked on the project during  the 2017 COOS Women’s Retreat at Kathleen Fannin’s, the 2017 Daughters of the Holy Cross Provincial Board meeting in Charlotte, NC, and during the 2017 ACNA Provincial Assembly in Chicago, IL.

But why do this project? Because it is something tangible that I can do for COOS. And because I am using one of my talents, my gifts, that was given to me by God. I trust the parish will enjoy and treasure this gift for many years to come.

It is my desire that the children of this parish place the Chrismons on the Christmas tree.

Nancy Pace Ford