Chrismon Tree

The Chrismon Tree

The Chrismon (pronounced "kriz'-mon") tree is complete only when those who see it understand its meaning.  Chrismon is a combination of two words - CHRISt and MONogram.  A Chrismon, in its original form, is just that -- a monogram of Christ.  According to the dictionary definition, a Chrismon is the "Chi Rho" monogram (the first two letters of Christ in Greek).  The plural form is "chrisma" and is not capitalized.  Chrisma were designed and carved by some of the earliest Christians on places such as jewelry, utensils, doors and on the walls of catacombs in Rome.  Early Christians used them to identify themselves to one another, to designate meeting places, or to show unbelievers where they stood.  From an artistic point of view, the designs were beautiful and it was apparent they would make lovely Christmas tree decorations.  All Chrismons are made in combinations of white and gold.  The white refers to our Lord's purity and perfection, the gold to His majesty and glory.  The Alpha and Omega were added to the emblem in the fourth century to symbolize the divinity of Christ Jesus.    Later, other symbols were added to the tree to tell a more complete symbolic story of Christ.

Legend says that Constantine saw this emblem in the sky with words, "In this sign, conquer."  So the story goes, Constantine fought the battle for Rome in 312 AD under this sign for Christ.  He later placed the Chi Rho atop the standard carried before him to signify that his was an empire under Christ, a Christian people.  He defended the church against further persecution, became a Christian himself, and abolished the cross as a form of execution because his lord had died on it.  Since then, use of this monogram has also implied the triumph of Christianity.




For several years the ladies of our St. John's Lutheran Evening Guild have lovingly constructed the many Chrismons that adorn the Christmas Tree in our Sanctuary.  We invite you to take a closer look at the individual Chrismons and what they represent below, and of course, to see them in person each year during the Christmas season.


The Latin Cross

Christmas is the celebration of our Savior's birth.  The Cross is always a reminder of our Lord's saving work of redeeming mankind through His sacrifice for our sins, thereby bringing forgiveness and salvation.












 The Epiphany Star

A star will come out of Jacob.  Numbers 24:17 finds its fulfillment in Matthew 2:2 "...We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."









 "Crown Him With Many Crowns"

The Crown is the Symbol of the Kingship of

  our Lord, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings

  and Lord of Lords'  His victory over sin

  and death;  His place of honor at the right

         hand of God the Father. 








  The Descending Dove

This symbol goes back to the very beginning of the Church.  It represents God the Holy Spirit and has its origin in the event of our Lord's baptism, when the Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove.








The Manger

"And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye

Shall find the babe wrapped in

Swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

St. Luke 2:12
















The Advent Candles and Wreath

The Advent Candles lit the four Sundays

preceding Christmas Day, symbolize: light,

hope, joy, and peace.  The circular wreath

symbolizes God's unchanging love.

"Hosanna Now Through Advent"

LW 16


The Angel

The angel of the Lord appeared before

  the shepherds and announced to them

the birth of the Christ Child in Bethlehem.






The Cross in Eternity

The Cross, reminding us of Christ's

redeeming sacrifice for our sins, is

within a golden circle, symbol of


"...whoever believes in Him shall not perish

but have eternal life."

John 3:16










  Thy body, given for me, O Savior

Thy blood which thou for me didst shed,

  These are my life and strength forever,

      By them my hungry soul is fed.

               TLH 315






IXOYC (ICHTHUS), the Greek word for fish forms an acronym on the first letters of, "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior".  One of the most ancient symbols for our Lord.











The Celtic Cross

Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Hebrews 1:3










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