Snipping For
Deeper Meaning

By MARIAN DOZIER, Sun-Sentinel
12/25/00


Like rock 'n' roll records spun backwards, there is a subliminal message in the paper snowflakes that hang on Sarah Keith's Christmas tree. The subtext is way different though: Keith's intricately cut message is all goodness and light.

Keith, of Lake Park, is the creator of the Chrismon Snowflake Ornament -- Christmas ornaments symbolic of Christ or Christianity. She sells her patterns on her Web site, SundaySchoolNetwork.com, on which she shares advice, crafts and classroom techniques with the world's Sunday school teachers.

The 16 ornament patterns -- crosses, crowns, doves and stars, for example -- are meant to telegraph faith, Keith said. Each comes with a corresponding Bible scripture. A booklet of 32 patterns sells for $16.

"What's neat (about the snowflakes) is two things," Keith said. "They remind you of the reason for the season ... Plus, they're just a lot of fun to make."

Keith, [a children's ministry volunteer] at First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach, discovered the idea of religious symbolism in cut-up paper by accident. In 1993, she was making traditional paper-cut snowflakes with her three children, when, she said, "I thought it'd really be cool to figure out a way to cut into the snowflake symbols of Christ." She indeed figured it out. That year, she created 12 designs and, in 1994, added four more.

Keith, however, did not coin the term "Chrismon," an amalgam of the words Christ and monogram, nor the art of intricate paper cutting, called Scherenschnitte. The skill was brought to America by German and Swiss immigrants during the late 17th century. Faith symbols were common.

Chrismon Snowflake

     Peeking Messages: Sarah Keith's snowflakes from her book
Chrismon Snowflake Ornaments hold Christian meanings.
     Staff photo/Hilda M. Perez

 

Besides her Web site, the workbook is also available through Amazon.com, Borders.com and Barnesandnoble.com, and she is looking for an "on the ground" distributor.

Kit MacLeod, director of children's ministries at First Presbyterian, said Keith's work at the church is a real gift; Keith plans crafts for the Kingdom Kids evening program on Wednesdays, and teaches Sunday school to elementary-aged boys.
"It is her God-given talent to take spiritual themes and be able to illustrate them through crafts," MacLeod said. "I really think this book is a real blessing for people who happen upon it."

Marian Dozier can be reached at mdozier@sun-sentinel.com or 561-243-6643

 

RETURN TO THE Chrismon Snowflake's page.