Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Preparations

While my husband was paying for this year's Christmas tree, the man working the tree section let me sift through all their extra cuttings and pick out some branches for free. I had great ambitions for making an advent wreath for our family to use this Christmas.

I got instructions from Ruby Glen when I was looking for creative, handmade gift ideas. The base is a wire hanger that has been stretched into a circle. Next, I bunched up branches of evergreen and wired them to the coat hanger. It took about two hours to complete.

I was really pleased with how it looks, considering it was a first attempt. The only downside is that from the back it looks horrendous, and I don't think that it would hold up in a vertical position. But, just like when you shove all your junk in the closet and close the door, it looks pretty on the outside!

The traditional color for the tapers of an advent wreath are supposed to be purple, but, I am not from a liturgical church i.e Catholic/Lutheran/Episcopal, so I made my own modifications....simply because I am not crazy about purple. The purple tapers are supposed to symbolize penitence and fasting before the birth of Christ, which is represented by the white center candle. That isn't exactly the angle from which I am approaching the tradition, so I didn't mind leaving it by the wayside.

I had wanted gold tapers to symbolize the birth of a King and one of the gifts of the Magi, but apparently there had been a stampede on gold tapers just before we arrived at Target, because they were completely wiped out. So, I had to settle for bronze. The bronze may work out well because it looks very earthy and could easily symbolize God leaving the glory of Heaven to inhabit the earthly realm.

For those who are not familiar with an Advent wreath, each Sunday before Christmas Eve, an appropriate Scripture, leading up to the Christmas story, is read and you light the corresponding candle. You begin lighting them four Sundays before Christmas, starting with lighting one candle on the first Sunday, two on the second Sunday, three on the third Sunday and four on the fourth Sunday. The center candle is lit on Christmas Eve night. So, on Christmas Eve, all five candles will be lit. It is a great way to build anticipation for Christmas and remind our family about the true meaning of Christmas.

This will be the first year that we have done this with our boys and I am excited about instituting the tradition!

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