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”


In 1965, there was one large tree in what we now call Jacobson Hall.  When the NEW sanctuary opened in 1969, two trees shared the chrismons.

“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.”

This bulletin insert explained the meaning of the Chrismons

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.

Chi- the first letter in the name Christ.  It is an X in the Greek alphabet

CHI and RO – the first two letters in the name Christ.  Another interpretation is based on the Latin, Christus Rex, Christ the King.


This is Ro with a triangle for the trinity, and the letter Mu.  Mu was originally an Egyptian hieroglyphic that represented the word the Phoenicians and Greeks used for water.

ALPHA and OMEGA- the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet, since God is before and after all, a symbol of divinity.

the Chi and Ro with Alpha and Omega inside a circle.  The circle represents eternity.

This is another way of writing Omega

The Sun of Righteousness- as prophesied in Malachi  “The sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.”

IOTA CHI-the first letters of Jesus and Christ in Greek

This one is the Angel Gabriel from Luke chapter 1:beginning at verse 26

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.

The seven sided star in Judeo-Christian context is a symbol of completion. The universe was completed in a seven day week.  In the early days of astronomy, they only found seven planets, so the universe was complete.  The heart is a symbol of love and the seven crosses expand outward from it.

The triangle with trefoil    represents the Father , Son, and Holy Spirit

and the triquerta  also  represents the. Trinity

THE CROWN- represents the Kingship of Christ.

we also have two of them at the top of both trees.

This circle, taken from a mandala, has the IOTO CHI and a crown of thorns.

STARS- often formed by crosses set various angles symbolize the close relationship between the birth and death of our Lord.

The FISH is one of the most ancient symbols for Christ and was used as a  secret sign for early Christians.

this fish contains the first letters for Jesus Christ Son of God and Savior.

The butterfly represents birth and re-birth and this one contains the alpha and omega

SERPENT ON THE TAU CROSS- as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up.

The ROSE OF SHARON- the nativity of our Lord and hope of the Messiah.

Lily OF THE VALLEY- represents the humility of Christ.

THE CROSS OVER THE WORLD- represents Jesus saying “go ye into all the world and proclaim the word of God.

The GREEK CROSS-  all arms of equal length, a form used in centuries of Christian art.

THE LATIN CROSS- the most familiar cross on which Jesus was crucified.

the Latin cross on a pedestal.  The three steps represent faith, hope and love.

the Latin cross with the monogram for “the holy name of Jesus”

THE BUDDED CROSS- with trefoils at the cross ends, representing the trinity.

THE CROSS WITH SCROLLS- each represents  the four evangelists..St Mathew, the winged man…St Mark, the winged lion…St Luke, the winged ox…and St John, the winged eagle.

THE JERUSALEM CROSS-is the five crosses… the large center cross and four smaller crosses to be carried to the four corners of the earth.

The dove and fire both represent the holy spirit

The delta and dove represent the trinity and holy spirit

The Lily known as the Fleur de Lis, is found though out history but it’s Christian symbolism is for the trinity and the purity of Mary. On compasses, it points north to protect early sailors.

…it is the logo for the International Boy Scouts

…and is the logo for an NFL team named….what else?…the Saints

the cross in a circle is the cross in eternity

This water pitcher symbolizes baptism.

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.