A friend emailed today to ask about Advent Wreaths and I thought it might be a nice to share with you what I told her.
Traditionally the Advent Wreath is some sort of greenery with the candles in it. Here is what I found while researching the Season of Advent. This may be familiar to you now, as it was to me, but I had never realized the reasons it was done this way:
This simple arrangement consists of four candles set equidistant in a circle of evergreens, with a larger 5th candle placed in the middle. On the first Sunday of Advent the first candle is lit, on the second Sunday, two candles, and so on. Finally, on Christmas Eve, we light the Christ candle in the middle. Usually the three outer candles are purple, the liturgical color of Advent that symbolizes both penitence and royalty, but the candle for the third Sunday is rose colored, denoting the theme of joy. The Christ Candle is white. The circle suggests eternity, the greens symbolize life, and the cross of lighted candles points to Christ…by lighting a new candle each week, by accumulating the brightness, we signify our hope in the coming light of Christ, even as daylight diminishes and darkness rises with the approach of the winter solstice (40-41, Living in the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God [amazon.com affiliate link]).
At our house, we have a grapevine wreath—I like to think we are Abiding in the Vine, like John 15. 😉 There are four silver candles with one large white Christ candle. Small grapevine wreaths are very inexpensive and I got mine at JoAnne Fabric. I use the Advent wreath as our table centerpiece, but you could put it anywhere.
We are lighting the 1st candle each night this week after reading the scripture selection for the day, then we pray the prayer for the week. We let the candle burn while we eat dinner and then put it out till the next day.
You can do the traditional candles, or any color you like. You could use candles you already have. Since you are doing this for your family and to honor the Lord, you can decide what it is supposed to be like!
Mine is full of sparkly things. I like sparkle. Yep. Here I used two types of beaded garland, some assorted pine cones, and some ribbon. I have the candles on a cake stand, and I put the whole thing on top of a table runner I have.
You might enjoy some inspiration from our Advent Wreath Pinterest Board. You can see all the different choices people made. Some only use 4 candles. Some use different colors (like me – I used silver tapers and a large white pillar). It is really up to you! I put our wreath/centerpiece together after getting inspired on Pinterest, so check it out.
Here are some other alternatives I looked at when I was trying to decide:
All of this tradition should not make you feel stuck. There are no “rules”—just opportunities and choices. Anything we add to our holiday repertoire should be beneficial to our family.
With that in mind, it doesn’t have to be expensive! You can follow Janelle’s example (from ComfyintheKitchen.com); she created a Christmas centerpiece from things she already had around the house—a few more candles and she would have had an Advent centerpiece!
Please let me know if you are using an Advent Wreath – you can add a comment below or post the picture on FB and tag me (@BrittaEllisLafont). Don’t forget to sign up to get the family devotional scriptures for Advent – click here!