This is the first year we’ve made an Advent wreath or done any real Advent activities in our home. I have intended to for a couple of years but lack of planning and the freakishly fast passing of time has always prevented me. And it almost foiled my plans again this year, but I decided that I would NOT let tardiness defeat me and we finally began our “condensed Advent” unit on December 9th and just finished making our Advent wreath today (although we did light the half finished version on Monday night since we already missed the first two Sundays of Advent).
Advent comes from the latin word adventus which means “arrival” or “coming”. During the Advent season, we remember when Christ came to earth as a baby and we look forward to the day when he will come again. There is so much beautiful imagery to celebrate during this season, I highly recommend carving out some time for reflection even if you’re a bit behind like we were.
There are a few different candle set ups that are traditional for Advent. We went with four white candles for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas and one red candle in the center for Christmas Eve. Then we decorated our wreath with the following:
-Rosemary* to symbolize the evergreen or christmas tree, which is a reminder that because of Jesus, we can have eternal life.
-Star Anise to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem that revealed the birth of Jesus to the magi.
-Cinnamon bark tied in the shape of a cross to remember that in celebrating Jesus’ birth, we look toward Easter, when we celebrate his resurrection and defeat over death.
-The fragrance of all of these things reminds us that we are the fragrance of Christ to God as we carry His love out with sincerity and compassion.
*Rosemary was just easier to acquire than actual evergreen branches. Just use something fresh that smells good!
If you’ve never made a point of celebrating Advent in your home – start now! In a season that can all too quickly become a blur of parties and gift wrapping and stress, Advent points us back to the true heart of Christmas.