Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Our New Advent Wreath!

All done! Our advent wreath will take pride of place on the dining room table, sitting on top of the lazy susan that was used for the template of the wreath board. The children are very excited and have had a lovely time working on this project with me.

We have the four advent candles and the Christ candle in the middle. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior.

The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ.

Looking down into the centre of the wreath you can see two of the four boxes, one for each advent candle. I was thinking of placing the prayers for each week in the boxes....unless anyone has any other suggestions or ideas?

Here is a close up of the pinecones, a particularly beautiful decoration which didn't cost anything! Alternating the smaller pinecones sprayed gold with the medium sized pinecones. They were glued in place. I bought an extra thick glue that I have applied with a knife and any glue that could be seen underneath, once dried, we painted with the gold.

The pinecones are not just decorative, they have spirtual meaning - pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection. Some of the ever green sprays we bought in either purple or pink, also have little gold pinecones.

Here is a close up of one of the advent candles - the Gaudete Sunday candle which is rose. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.

The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.

Around each candle I have used sprays that match the candle's colour and added a bow (with four bows - one for each Sunday in Advent, they are pinned to the gold foam ring) near the base of each candle.

The candles sit snuggly into the recessed cuts I made in the foam ring and so they sit firm enough without any other assistance but still easily removed when the candles will be replaced with new ones each Advent. The ribbon connected to the Christ candle sit under the advent candle and I've secured it with a pin.

Here is a better look at the stand the Christ candle sits upon - this base was originally brown, which we sprayed gold and we have glued the base in the middle of the board. Under the Christ candle there is a spike that each of the four ribbons have been skewed upon. We are yet to decorate the Christ candle and will do so later this week.

The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. We will also use the Christ candle on the feast of The Immaculate Conception, when it will be covered by a beautiful, sheer blue cloth with white hollys on it.

Another close up of the pinecones...

The evergreen peeps out beautifully over the pinecones and have been glued to the gold foam ring. I chose where the end of the spray needed to be pushed into the foam and made the hole, the children took it in turns dipping the end of the spray into the thick glue and then pushing it down into the hole to set firm. There are two different designs of spray - one with a present, gold pinecone, bell, berries and different types of evergreen. The other design with a ball, pear and present with evergreen. Each design in the matching colour of the candle are placed on either side.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing.

Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of holly.

Here are some close ups of the evergreen sprays, you can see the gold foam peeping through the sprays and pinecones, here and there.

Here are the two different designs in purple, side by side. The purple colour in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time.

The final shot looking down at the wreath with the boxes taken out of the centre. Advent cannot come quick enough - we will enjoy lighting this wreath at each nightly dinner.
In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. A traditional prayer service using the Advent wreath will take place, the prayer depending on the week we are in.

Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, the wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas. Moreover, this good tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

**All the explainations of the wreath itself have come from: The History of the Advent Wreath by Father William Saunders. **


Mary G said...


Love the wreath! Very nice job and I also greatly appreciate all the symbolism discussion. THANKS!

Cindy said...

So incredibly beautiful! And I just love all of your explanations - I learned a thing or two this morning.

Mary Vitamin (Helen) said...

Spectacular Annie! Congratulate your DH as well for taking out the jigsaw.

I think you've inspired me to spruce up our Advent Wreath.

MaryM said...

Ooooooooh, it is beautiful!

Jacqlyn said...

It is so and the children have done a wonderful job. Bless ya! Jacqui

Moonlight in Vermont said...

Beautiful Advent wreath!!!