For most of you, these Christmas trees have always been here for the advent season. I would like to share the story about these Christmas trees and what these white Christmas ornaments, called chrismons mean. They are the real symbols of Christmas.
Bob Lechner’s dad passed away in 2013, and we had a lot of things to sort out. In a box Bob found all the Mothers Day cards his mom got from her children and Grandchildren. But there were many other things too. Some of them were from St Mark’s from a long time ago.
Like this (left)… The St Marks Beacon…a forerunner of the Marksman which is a forerunner of the new St. Marks Messenger, which told you that the Senior League Youth group was meeting on the first and third Sundays at 3:00, or that a member had moved , and you should make the change in your directory
… which looked like this (right)…….. They were both printed on a mimeo-graph machine which was invented before the ink jet printer or even the xerox copier. If you are over 50 you never forget what a mimeo-graph paper smells like.
But this is the best. A San Diego Union newspaper article published on November 5, 1965. The caption says “Chrismons will decorate the yule tree…left to right Madames L.H. Cantwell, Nelson and Weedmark”
“Open House to Display Unique Tree. Women at St. Marks Lutheran Church, Chula Vista, spend every Tuesday afternoon making Chrismons, symbols to decorate a huge Christmas tree next week. The women have been meeting weekly since May, making these decorations to adorn a full green tree which will stand in the church sanctuary.
Reverend Lauren Egdahl announced that an open house to display the tree to the community is planned for early December. Chrismons are the traditional symbols of Jesus. Mrs. Donald Weedmark, chairman, said the project was adopted this year by St Mark’s women. Mrs. Jack Nelson is the co-chairman of the volunteer group.
The idea is based on a “Put Christ in Christmas” theme created by Mrs Frances Kipps Spencer at Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville Virginia in 1957, Mrs. Weedmark said.”
Chrismon is a combination of two words. Christ and monogram….together they are the symbols of Christ and Christmas. Chrismons are traditionally colored white and gold. White is the liturgical (or Church) color for Christmas and symbolises that Jesus was pure and perfect. Gold symbolises His Majesty and Glory. Chrismons can be made from nearly anything, but paper and embroidered ones are the most widely used. The Chrismons at St. Mark’s in Chula Vista are made of styrofoam, beads, foil, sequins, shells, silk, glitter and pearls.
The earliest symbols are in Greek letters, because much of the New Testament was written in Greek, the language used by many of the first churches.
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
There were originally 105 chrismons made in 1965. they are fragile and some were broken over the years, but a couple years ago the tree committee took the time to fix and restore them. Phyllis Stallard has been in charge of repairing the broken ones each year since then.
We called Mrs. Weedmark, one of the women in the newspaper photograph. She lives in Oregon now, but she was happy that the crismons are still going up on trees each Christmas, and she says HI to all the folks at St. Mark’s.
Mrs. Frances Prott, is the last surviving regular member who worked on the original crismon ornaments. We would like to thank you and all the women at St Marks who put in so many hours for our church. It’s a blessing that we can enjoy their beauty every Christmas.