I am excited to share a few of our family Christmas traditions with you over the next few weeks. Growing up I had never heard of an Advent wreath. However, when my children were very small I took them to a free workshop our church was having where we could make an advent wreath for our family and learn more about it. Fast forward, and the wreath we made long ago with faux greenery, Styrofoam, and wired ribbon is gone. But we still use the worksheet we were given with the suggested prayers and Bible readings. I’d like to share with you the Advent wreath we now use. And I’d like to give you a printable version of something you can use as a family each week as you light each Advent candle. Just a note that the type on the Advent devotional is small because I felt it was important to fit it on one page. It makes it easier for you to copy and share with friends and to keep track of over the years.
Right after Christmas of 2017 our old Advent wreath fell apart. It was about 10 years old and the Styrofoam couldn’t hold up any more. I made up my mind that by the time Advent came around in 2018 I wanted to find something affordable but of heirloom quality. I searched Etsy and Amazon and many other stores for months but couldn’t find anything I liked. Two days before Advent began in 2018 I stumbled across a candle holder at Target that was perfect. It wasn’t labeled “Advent Wreath”, but that’s what it is. It’s heavy and solid, and it’s something that I hope to use with my grandchildren one day. This (2019) is our second year using it, and I thought I would share it with you.
Advent wreaths are made of a wreath of evergreen branches. In this case I am using Magnolia clippings. If you aren’t familiar with Magnolia trees, they are evergreen trees abundant in the South. Whether growing or cut, the topsides of the leaves are green, and the undersides are a velvety brown.
Also in an Advent wreath you will need 3 purple (sometimes blue is used), 1 pink, and 1 white candle. Each week of Advent, which begins 4 Sundays before Christmas, an additional candle is lit. Finally, on Christmas, the white Christ candle is lit. I go into detail which candle to light and the meanings on the weekly devotional that I will provide below.
I want to pause and say something loudly and with love: The wreath? Just a symbol. The candles? Symbols, too. In the end, when you are worshiping with your family, the quality doesn’t matter. Goodness, you could be using paper candles that a child colors a flame on each week. What matters is the worship, the gratitude, the acknowledgement of the Son, the acceptance of love and peace.
Here’s another thing: sometimes we Mamas forget things. If Sunday goes by and it’s Monday, and you suddenly realize you forgot to light the candle the day before…show yourself some Grace, and just do it Monday. Your kids aren’t going to remember if you did it on a Monday or Tuesday. They’ll remember the words spoken and the candle’s glow.
Here is a printable version of the devotional we use each week during Advent. I have added some additional details such as candle color and an introduction at the top. But for the most part this writing originally came from “An Advent Service for the Home” by Pat Floyd.
I hope you have been inspired to celebrate the Advent season with your family and friends. Let me know how you find ways to celebrate our Savior throughout Christmastime.