Chrismon Examples (click on a picture for a larger version)
(Not Pictured) SCROLL WITH PROPHECY
The story of the Christian Year Series begins with the golden scroll of prophecy which symbolizes the promises of salvation which God gave His people. In Advent, the first season of the Christian Year, Christians recall the Old Testament prophecies which foretold the first coming of our Savior. We also remember the New Testament assurances that He will return in all His glory. During this season, we prepare ourselves to receive Him anew.
In time, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory." A gladiolus symbolizes the Incarnation, the Word made flesh. The word gladiolus is from the Latin word gladius, which means sword. A person who uses a sword is called a gladiator. A glance at the leaves of the plant called the gladiolus shows why. Each leaf looks like a two-edged sword. Thus, the flower is called a gladiolus because it is a sword in plant form. A study of some of the New Testament letters reveals why the gladiolus has come to symbolize the Incarnation. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer says, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword."
FIVE-POINT STAR CHRISMON
Later, wise men who had followed a star came to see the Baby. When His mother showed her Son to them, the men fell down and worshipped Him, for they saw His Glory. During the Epiphany season, the church recalls the ways in which the Child and later the Man was shown to be the Son of God. Christians also remember that the wise men were of another race and land, and they recognize that the Son of Man is the Savior-God not only of the Jews but of all the people. The five-point star or Epiphany Star, which the wise men followed, symbolizes this whole season. It is said that people with imagination can see a person in the five-point star. The top ray is the head; the two points at the sides, the arms; and the bottom ones, the legs.
After our Lord's ministry in Galilee and Judea, He went up to Jerusalem to accomplish that for which He was sent. He carried His cross to Calvary; He died there so that we might live. He was the perfect Sacrifice for our sins. Long ago, people believed that in time of famine, a mother pelican would pierce her breast so that her young could drink her life's blood and live. Such is a measure of God's love for us. He gave His Son to die so that we could live. For many centuries, the pelican-in-her-piety has been a symbol of the Atonement our Savior made for us. The pelican giving her blood for her young also suggests the Lord's Supper which He instituted on the night before He died. The pelican is different from any other Chrismon on the tree. On this ornament only, we have used a color other than white or gold. The drops of Blood on the breast are red.
Continuing on with the Life Story, three days later, he burst forth from the tomb. Like the glory of the rising sun, He conquered death. The shameful cross, out of suffering and death, became a thing of glory. On Easter morning, we see the cross as the Cross in Glory - an ordinary Latin cross - but illumined by the rays of a rising sun. Our Lord, the Son of righteousness is risen and lives now and forever. Nothing seems more dead than the drab mass into which the larva goes to rest during its pupa stage. But suddenly, from the lifeless chrysalis, there emerges a beautiful butterfly! One can't believe it is happening! But there it is in full view! A radiantly beautiful new creature! This must have been something of the feeling of our Lord's disciples when they began to be aware that He lived again. The life cycle of the butterfly suggests something of the unexpected joy and the incredibly altered lives of those who knew that the Lord had conquered death.
FIERY CHARIOT CHRISMON
Outside of our Lord Himself, the Jewish writings of the Old Testament exerted the greatest influence on the Son of Man's first disciples. The use of Elijah's fiery chariot as a symbol for our Lord's Ascension illustrates this point. In drawing a parallel between certain events described in the Old Testament with epistles in the Life of our Lord, the early church followed her Savior's example. Since Elijah was caught up to Heaven bodily in a fiery chariot, a picture of the chariot is used to depict our Savior's bodily Ascension into Heaven.
SEVEN-TONGUED FLAME CHRISMON
Before the Man Who was called Jesus left His disciples, he told them that His Father would send the Counselor. When they were gathered together on the Pentecost after His Ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon our Lord's apostles like tongues of flame. The church, the body of Christ on earth, came into being. From that day until now, the church has presented the living Christ to all the world. Until her Lord returns to claim His kingdom, the church will continue to make His Name known. The seven-tongued flame symbolizes the outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
SHAMROCK IN TRIANGLE WITH CIRCLE CHRISMON
Three devices combine to symbolize the Triune. In the center is the shamrock composed of three leaves on one stem. It is said that an Irish priest, Patrick, first used the shamrock to attempt to explain the inexplicable Nature of one God in three Persons. Although the equilateral triangle is only one geometric figure, it has three separate and distinct sides. It has been used for centuries to suggest the one God Who has presented Himself to man in three different Ways. The endless circle defines the eternal Nature of God Who was before time and Who will be when time is no more.
GOD AS THREE PERSONS: GOD THE FATHER - GOD THE SON - GOD THE SPIRIT CHRISMON
In the middle left of the tree, you will see a hand in a circle, a lamb in a circle and a descending dove in a circle. These three ornaments represent the 3 Persons of the Trinity - The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Each is in a Circle of Glory (peaks and rays) to suggest the eternal nature of the Triune.
The Son Chrismon
Agnus Dei or Lamb of God. Derived from prophecy, The Lamb is the most enduring figure for our Lord. Reference is to the sacrificial lamb of Israel. With the banner of Victory, it represents the risen Christ.