This week is the first week of Advent, the season of waiting and preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. One of my favorite traditions - and decorations - is the Advent wreath, something we've used for a couple years, now. Our old wreath was looking pretty worn out, so this year I put together a new one. Here's how it turned out:
I love all of the symbolism behind each element of the wreath, and it was a lot of fun to figure out how to put it all together. The round shape of the wreath symbolizes God's mercy (which never ends), and the evergreens symbolize the hope of renewal and everlasting life, brought to us through Jesus. I was thrilled to find inexpensive advent wreaths at Michael's with the candle cups built right into the greenery; then I added four snowy pinecone picks to dress it up. Since I had a store coupon for 40% off...in total, I was pleased that the whole wreath cost about $12.
The candles have a lot of meaning behind them, too. Their warm light during these darker winter days is a reminder to us that Jesus is the light of the world. Four of them are used to represent each of the four centuries that the Israelites had to wait between the last prophecy about Jesus until His first coming, His birth. And they're also a beautiful reminder to us Christians now, that we are in a "second advent" - awaiting His second and final coming!
I really, really wanted to find the traditional colors of purple and pink for our candles this year...but I waited too long to order them online...and I didn't have time to stop at a Christian bookstore to pick some up. The symbolism there is of repentance (purple) and joy (pink)...reminding us to prepare our hearts to receive our King. Wonderful!
Instead, I did find these sparkly red ones on sale at Michael's (can you tell I love that store?), which I think turned out lovely, too. Next year I will remember to start sooner!
White bows symbolize Jesus' purity, His sinless life. In place of ribbon, I used some scraps of white sailcloth leftover from past craft projects, which I cut into strips for the bows. The white candle in the center is called the Christ candle, and is white to represent Him, too. We'll wait until Christmas morning to light that one :)
On Sunday night, we gathered the kids for eggnog and cookies while Daddy read the Advent devotion and Scripture reading. Little Monkey was too little last year to remember the wreath, and it was so fun to watch both him and Peanut get excited when General lit the candle. We talked about the real meaning of Christmas and laughed quite a lot, and then it was bedtime. Our Advent season is off to a good start, although I think next Sunday, I'll be sure to make a snack that is a little less sugary and crumbly! ;)