Wednesday, March 22, 2017

About Christian Symbolism

Two peacocks, symbolizing paradise and immortality,
 on a fragment from an eighth century ciborium from a
church in Italy
       Symbols or emblems are by no means all of one sort, but are more or less clearly to be classified under distinct headings.
       Some are purely symbolical or allegorical: the pelican, or the phoenix, or the pomegranate, if taken as emblems of the LORD, are simply so taken as figuring some qualities recognized by the faithful as pertaining to Christ.
       So with some of the saintly emblems : the burning heart of S. Augustine, or the beehive of S. Ambrose, and the two pillars of S. Athanasius, these figure not the deeds but the character of those signified.
      Others are doctrinal: the Divine Hand, the interlaced triangles, or the shield of the Trinity, or the IX0Y2 (Greek letters), for instance. These convey to us the faith of the Church.
       Again, there are those purely metaphorical. We show our LORD as the Good Shepherd, because He said, "I am the Shepherd; "or as a rose, since He said, "I am the Rose;" or the Agnus Dei, because the Baptist said, " Behold the Lamb of GOD."
       Then there is a very large class formed by such emblems as are intended to be distinctly historical. Such are the saltire of S. Andrew, the wheel of S. Catharine, and the many other tokens of the sufferings of the saints. So the emblems of the Passion and the whole heraldry of the Cross fall under the same classification.
       There are, too, emblems official: the mitre, the Papal tiara, the helmet, the staff, the cope, the dalmatic, and a score of other badges of office are attributed to those who probably never wore the things at all, and certainly did not do so in the form portrayed. The first martyr, S. Stephen, did not wear a dalmatic with an appareled alb; nor did S. Peter ever see a tiara or a patriarchal cross. But what can we do, save use the " signs of the times " we are working in, and be therewith content ? I don't for a moment suppose, when designing an Athanasius, in a fifteenth century cope, with a legend in black letter, and a shaven face, surmounted by a jeweled mitre, that he ever looked a bit like that. But he does look like a bishop of the Catholic Church, and he fits in with his English surroundings when so depicted.
       If realism be insisted upon, scarcely any representation will be possible; since we cannot be sure of the shape and pattern, the color of the clothing: still less of the features, the beard, and hair of any early saint. Realism, too, would prohibit the attempt to show the sacred hierarchy of heaven, and we can only credit the angels, in their orders and courses, with the emblems, by common consent appropriate to their names and dignities.
       Other emblems are representative, not of the saints, but of their work or trade: the shoes of S. Crispin or the tent-maker's tools of Priscilla show their handicraft; while the fetters of S. Leonard show, not his own chains, but those worn by the recipients of his goodness.
       The next class would be described by heralds as canting. This unsavory word, however, is not meant (even heraldically) in an invidious sense. Arms are called "canting," or parlant, when they form a rebus, or a play upon a name. A bolt in a tun for " Bolton," a man in a tree for " Manningtree," are, without question, of the same sort as S. Agnes' lamb, S. Cornelius' horn, and S. Sidwell's scythe.
       What to say of S. Christopher I know not. Tradition says that he was a heathen giant Offero, but having "carried Christ " he became Christo-pher, and is so represented. Either the name gave the legend, or the legend the name who can say ?
       A last division may, perchance, be called traditional, in its modern and false sense, i.e., something carried on from nowhere! It would seem that there is neither rhyme nor reason for a large number of such emblems, save the individual fancy of some unknown artist, whom others followed blindly.
       Books, which the holders never wrote, and probably never read, are, of course, merely vague and uncertain. But why S. John of Ely should have a sun and moon is more than one can tell. Certain it is that license has been freely taken in this direction, and perchance it may be extended even to us, if we
only avail ourselves of it when all else fails. Geldart

Christian Symbols for Chrismon Crafts

Samples of the Christian patterns found in the following collection.
This collection includes historic Christian symbols visitors may use for crafts. I will include explanations of the symbols.
All graphics/illustrations/clip art on this web journal are free to download and use for personal art projects, church related hard copy or webpages. Images are not to be redistributed in any other collections of clip art online. Please include a link back to this web journal if you use the materials for web articles. Link to

Patterns for Christmas Trees or Specifically Chrismon Trees:
  1. A 16th Century Pomegranate Design for Chrismons (Messianic Chrismon)
  2. Two Sun Symbols for a Chrismon Christmas Tree
  3. A Simple Fleur De Lys
  4. The Magen David Symbol (Messianic Chrismon)
  5. Three Rings Represent The Trinity
  6. The Passion Cross or the Calvary Cross
  7. The Greek Cross Chrismon Pattern
  8. Cross of Constantine Pattern - two versions
  9. Italian Lamb of God for Chrismons
  10. "IHS" Plus a Crown Pattern for Chrismons
  11. Saint Andrew's Cross Chrismon Pattern
  12. A Cross Confirmation Banner by Kathy Grimm (The Cross Patonce pattern)
  13. The Latin Cross Pattern
A Chrismon tree is a Christmas tree decorated with explicitly Christian symbols in white and gold. First introduced by American Lutherans in 1957, the practice rapidly spread to other Christian denominations, including Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists, and the Reformed.
       The Word "Chrismon" (plural "Chrismons") was adopted for a type of Christmas decoration and explained as a portmanteau of "CHRISt-MONOgram" (a Christogram) first by Frances Kipps Spencer for her congregation's Christmas tree.
      Originally, the women who developed Chrismon ornaments intended for their designs and ideas to also be given away and not mass marketed for profit. In fact, they developed their Chrismon tree display as a kind or personal protest against the commercialism of Christmas. But as all good Christmas ideas eventually become marketable product in America, so went the ways of supply and demand for the ornaments. Frances Kipp Spencer's original versions are primarily made from beaded patterns and interested crafters can order her original patterns along with supplies at Rufty's Chrismon Shop here.
       Fortunately for us, there are many free patterns still available on the web for those of you who may be feeling a bit poor and deflated by all the commercial speculation and doublespeak surrounding the Spencer Chrismons. Your Christmas can still be about Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Man. Just click on the links below to find both free patterns and creative ideas about decorating your very own Chrismon tree this Christmas, first designed by Roman scribes and artists who worked and lived in the early Christian church.

Free Patterns for Crafting Chrismon Ornaments:
Sample Chrismon craft projects from my family Christmas blog. I've linked to these below.
Christmas Ornament Crafts for Chrismon Trees at my Christmas blog: Most of my versions are made from paper mache, fabric, clay and wire.
  1. Craft Easy Nativity Star Ornaments
  2. Make a Vintage 1950s Popsicle Stick Angel
  3. Craft an Ornament of The Baby Jesus in His Manger
  4. A Triquetra Knot Chrismon, Cut from A Sherensnitte
  5. A Manger Scherenscnitte Pattern by Kathy Grimm
  6. Craft a Communion Cut for The Chrismon Tree
  7. Craft Tear Drop Shaped Chrismons with Shells
  8. Craft An Anchored Chrismon Cross
  9. Craft a Papier Mâché Chrismon Candle
  10. Craft a Dove Chrismon, Symbolic of The Holy Spirit
  11. Craft the Three Nails and a Fish Chrismon
  12. Craft baby Jesus in a walnut shell 
  13. Handmade Pearl Ornament
  14. Craft a beaded cross
Video by Green Hill Presbyterian Church
More Videos About Chrismons:

A 16th Century Pomegranate Design for Chrismons

16th Century Pomegranate Design.
       This pomegranate design comes from the sixteenth century. 
       Pomegranates are not nearly as commonplace as other emblems in the Christian church. In fact, a large proportion of the pomegranates turn out to be pineapples when examined closely. Pomegranates in later centuries often are depicted in the royal badges of the Tudors, and are not intended to be church emblems at all.
       The fruit was, however, an accepted symbol of the richness of Divine Grace, and is either shown split open, with the abundant seeds of new life showing, or it is "voided," and the sacred monogram occupies the space. Certainly, after the rose, it was the favorite flower on which the broiderers showed their skill. 
       For those of you crafting Chrismons strickly in white and gold, I would suggest perhaps the exception to this rule of practice be made. For the seeds central to the pattern here would be lovely in a brilliant, bloody red and an appropriate color choice this would be too, for the seed of Christ is often associated with his precious blood. 
       There is also a crown included at the top of this pomegranate as well. (symbolic for Christ) A unique design for Chrismon collectors and crafters everywhere.

Sun Symbols for a Chrismon Christmas Tree

       The sun is a favorite emblem of the middle ages, doubtless intended to show our LORD as the Sol Justitiae. Very frequently the Sun appears, surrounded by stars, on a vault or ceiling. On either side of the Crucifixion the sun and moon usually appear, more often than not with human faces.
       The characteristics of the sun, as distinguished from the star, are the larger centre, and almost universally the alteration of straight and waved rays. The exception to this rule may be seen in the roses en soleil, which are drawn with straight rays.

A Simple Fleur De Lys

Use this simple Fleur De Lys pattern to
design your own Chrismons.

      The origin of this emblem appears to be lost in the haze of antiquity, whether we regard it heraldically or symbolically.
       Some suppose the common form to have first originated in the spear-head, so far, at least, as it is used as a charge in heraldry.
       Whether this be so or not, there is no doubt that a lily of some sort has usually been intended. A royal flower, even kin the days of Pliny --(flos rosae nobilitate proximus)-- the lily was regarded as a badge of royalty and dominion, whence its assumption by the Frank princes as their badge.
       Clovis, the first Christian king, is credited with its direct reception from heaven by the ministry of an angel; but Louis VII. of France was the first to bear it on his seal, in 1137.

The Magen David Symbol

The Magen David is the Star of David.
     During the 19th century the symbol began to proliferate amongst the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, ultimately being used amongst the Jewish communities in the Pale of Settlement. A significant motivating factor was the desire to imitate the influence of the Christian cross. The earliest Jewish usage of the symbol was inherited from medieval Arabic literature by Kabbalists for use in talismanic protective amulets (segulot) where it was known as a Seal of Solomon. The symbol was also used in Christian churches as a decorative motif many centuries before its first known use in a Jewish synagogue. Before the 19th century, official use in Jewish communities was generally known only in the region of today's Czech Republic, Austria and possibly parts of Southern Germany, having begun in medieval Prague.

Three Rings Represent The Trinity

This symbol "is dogmatic, reverent, and in every sense unobjectionable.  From unity as the centre, Trinity springs, yet the centre of unity is only found by the conjunction of the Trinity." Didron gives this as from a French Miniature of the thirteenth century.
       "Advent in the church is a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It is the beginning of the Christian year and starts four Sundays before Christmas, December 25th. This year, Advent begins on November 30th. As part of the preparation, the church decorates for the celebration. A Christmas Tree is decorated with Chrismons. Chrismons are Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them or made in the shape of Christian symbols. Some common shapes are..." (press video to read more)

Italian Lamb of God for Chrismons

   An Italian example of the twelfth century. It is noticeable for the Patriachal Cross to which the banner is attached, as well as for the Chalice which receives the Blood of the Covenant. This pattern would make a lovely embroidery or woodcut pattern for the Chrismon tree.

Lamb of God by Matt Maher. Published by, a division of OCP, from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

In the Mass of the Roman Rite and also in the Eucharist of the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Church, and the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church the Agnus Dei is the invocation to the Lamb of God sung or recited during the fraction of the Host.
Based upon John the Baptist's reference in John 1:29 to Jesus ("Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world"), the text in Latin is:
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.
which means:
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Baby Gives a Blessing

Description of Illuminated Words: Virgin Mary, gold ribbon, wreath, baby Jesus, blessing, carving, sculpture, Dogwood blossoms, Morning glory, lilies, transparent background
Have a question about the illustration? Just type it in the comment box and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I only publish content that is closely related to the subject folks

"Scripture Might Be Fulfilled"

John 19:36 "For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken." (ESV)

Description of Illuminated Words: text "Scripture might be fulfilled" shows up in John 19: 36, John 19:28 and John 15:25

Have a question about the illustration? Just type it in the comment box and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I only publish content that is closely related to the subject folks

Butterfly resting on a flower

Description of Illustration: a black and white drawing of a butterfly resting on top of a flower, daisy, insect, petals, stem

Have a question about the illustration? Just type it in the comment box and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I only publish content that is closely related to the subject folks.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Children Clip Art Index

Four samples of child related clip art found in my collection below.
This clip art file is full of all kinds of children: red and yellow, black and white they are all precious in God's sight...
All graphics/illustrations/clip art on this web journal are free to download and use for personal art projects, church related hard copy or webpages. Images are not to be redistributed in any other collections of clip art online. Please include a link back to this web journal if you use the materials for web articles. Link to

Clip Art of Jesus & The Children:
  1. A greyscale illustration of Jesus and the children
  2. Christ with halo blesses children
  3. A Watercolor of Jesus Blessing Little Children
  4. Riding Piggyback
Clip Art of Modern Children:
  1. "Nobody understands me the way you do" 
  2. A Godly Mother (holds a baby)
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:11
  4. Vintage portrait of a young black student
  5. Laughing Young Girls
  6. Boy With Basketball
  7. The Christmas Prayer (next to Christmas tree)
  8. Eastern Orthodox Children Carry Icons
  9. Banner of little ones eating and drinking
  10. Laughing among the waves...
  11. Psalms 74:16 (little girl in bed, star gazing)
  12. A small boy with a train
  13. Sitting in The Shade (Chinese children with parasol)
  14. Mother and her children reading together
  15. Clipart of fish bowls and clumsy boys
  16. Little Girl Painting with Watercolors
  17. Grape Picking
  18. Remember the Faithful in South Africa
  19. Matthew 19:14 (Native American)
  20. "Run The Race" (child on beach)
  21. Psalm 127: 3,4, and 5 (portrait of little girl)
  22. African Child
  23. What do you see?
  24. My Little Ash Girl
  25. Asian mother and child... 
  26. African American Father and Son
  27. Ready To Pray
  28. The bad man... 
Clip Art of Children in The Bible:
  1.  coming soon
Clip Art of Children Praying:
  1. "Ask for it and it shall be given." in Spanish
  2. Praying Child (portrait)
Sunday School Clip Art:
  1. International Rally Day Postcard for All Christians
  2. Get Ready For Rally Day!
  3. Vintage Sunday School Invites
  4. Vintage Rally Day Illustrations
  5. When churches used to post...
VBS Clip Art:
  1. VBS Announcements
  2. Hugs
Birthday Clip Art:
  1. The Birthday Cake
  2. The Children's Birthday Party
Sacraments, Dedication, Profession of Faith Clip Art:
  1. Baby Dedication
  2. Confirmed In Christ
Children In Choirs Clip Art:
Page last updated on March 18, 2017