Chrismon ministry at Macedonia

Eleven years of fellowship around a table filled with beads, threads, and patterns is a Saturday morning tradition at Macedonia Lutheran Church in Burlington, North Carolina. The Chrismon tree is a highly anticipated and traditional Advent and Christmas event at our church. The ministry itself is as glorious as the tree. Chrismon is a shortened form of the two words, “Christ Monograms.” They are created from patterns, each with a biblical explanation and description. Each has a unique name based on scripture from the Old or New Testaments.

This Synod Storyteller* decided to drop in to a Saturday morning meeting of this ministry and get the backstory of what I believe is the most beautiful of all Macedonian ministries. The first person I met was Dennis, the archivist and heavy lifter of the ministry. Dennis photographs each completed Chrismon and is also in charge of bringing all of the supplies into the room. He is then surrounded by a group of lovely women of all ages who begin work on the Chrismons. The beads and the patterns can be expensive depending on the difficulty and the number of beads that are required. Most of the Chrismons require a team of two to complete; there is a team and community effort in this ministry.

I asked each member of the team to share with me one comment or insight that would help the rest of us understand the importance of the Chrismon tree at our church. Debbie loves sharing the meaning and significance of the Chrismons with her granddaughter. Jo finds participating as a way to be uplifted after a difficult week as a primary caregiver. Wanda enjoys the challenge of a difficult pattern. Barbara loves being part of an important tradition. Debbie and Sheila pride themselves in being part of this ministry since its beginning. Yoko believes it broadens her church life. Yvonne reminded me that you can never sell a Chrismon, but often a Chrismon is given as a gift, for example, when one is given each year to our Homecoming guest preacher.

But there was one thing that all of the members agreed on. As the hundreds of Chrismons are lovingly taken out of the boxes and the sanctuary is prepared for Advent and Christmas, there is a sense of history, of many wonderful memories, and even of a few tears as a bare tree is transformed into a celebration of life together at Macedonia Lutheran Church.

—Story by Synod Storyteller* Louise Macklin of Macedonia, Burlington.

*Synod Storytellers are members of congregations across the NC Synod who commit to sharing the stories of the church—synod, congregation, and churchwide—within their own congregation and beyond. If you would like to become a Synod Storyteller for your congregation, contact Catherine Fink.