Our Christian collection includes a wide range of cards, certificates and artefacts that have been chosen to show the diversity that exists in Christianity, plus some of its festivals and practices. Teachers' notes are also included.
The set includes: Advent Calendar; Salvadorean Cross; Crucifix; Rosary; Dove Witness Pin; Bookmarks; Lourdes Water bottle; Communion Cups; Baptismal Candle; Chalice and Paten; various cards and certificates; teachers' notes.
The cross became the well known symbol of Christianity as it represented the cross on which Jesus was crucified. This embodies a central belief of Christianity that Jesus died for the sins of mankind and three days later was raised from the dead by God. The empty cross symbolises the resurrection, whilst the crucifix, a cross with the dying Jesus or corpus (body) emphasises his suffering and death.The crucifix is more common in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. In Protestant and non-conformist churches, statues are forbidden, therefore crucifixes are not found in these churches.
The central focus of the Orthodox, Catholic and some Anglican traditions is the Mass or Eucharist, the service which commemorates the Last Supper which Jesus held with his disciples. At this meal he took bread, blessed and broke it with the words "This is my body which is given for you..." After supper, he also blessed the wine and shared it amongst his disciples. The chalice holds the wine and the paten is the plate for the bread, often represented by wafers of edible rice paper. The priest blesses the bread and wine and distributes it to the congregation. In non-conformist churches, such as Methodist and Baptist churches, they tend to have individual communion cups which would be filled with a non-alcoholic liquid, such as grape juice, instead of wine.
It is important to remember that Christianity is a worldwide faith and that different countries may be reflected in their own style of artefacts. This is illustrated for example by the Salvadorean cross from South America and the Greek icon. Christmas cards are also a good source of culturally diverse imagery and can be added at little or no cost.
The practice of telling the rosary belongs primarily to the Catholic tradition of Christianity. The rosary is a string of prayer beads which the worshipper passes through the fingers saying a prayer at each bead. There are five groups of ten beads (a decade), each group divided by another, different sized bead. To say the full rosary the beads are told three times in all.
Non-conformist and Protestant Christian churches tend to have fewer artefacts than Catholic and Orthodox denominations. However, some Christians from these types of churches may use bookmarks with scripture messages. Witness pins such as a small cross, dove or fish are also popular amongst many types of Christian to indicate their allegiance to Christ.
A religious Advent calendar introduces the season of Advent leading up to Christmas. First introduced in 1908, it has become a popular way of counting down the days until Christmas.