Photo courtesy of Liz Brown
Gives thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
-Psalm 118:29 NIV
It is said that in ancient times, the Christmas Wreath, made of evergreens, symbolized the strength of life overcoming the forces of nature. The Romans hung wreaths as a sign of celebration and victory. But the Christians believed that the circular wreath represented immortality, making the Christmas Wreath very symbolic and meaningful. The colors of Christmas are green and red. Green represents the continuance of life through winter and the belief of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Red is representative of Jesus’ blood at crucifixion. Today, evergreen wreaths with red ribbons are found on doors and windows, both inside and out at the holidays. The Advent Wreath has its own importance that originates back to the 16th century in Germany. Four candles nestled in an evergreen wreath are lit, one at a time each week leading up to Christmas. A fifth candle in the center of the wreath represents Jesus’ birth and is lit on Christmas Eve. It is a symbol of hope and light. The custom of lighting the Advent Wreath is still practiced today in many homes and churches.
The season is here. The wreaths are hung and the tree is adorned. It is a busy time. There are menus to plan and family to prepare for. Jingle Bells are ringing and Christmas Carols are hummed out of tune while scurrying from errand to errand. In the frenzy of getting ready for Christmas, I am reminded that we shouldn’t lose sight of the deeper meaning of it. Festivities, parties, presents and Santa are a part of the Yule time and it may be easy to get absorbed in little things and miss the whole point of Christmas.
Like the holiday wreath, the circle of unbroken love that God surrounds us with each day is something that we can rely on anytime. He won’t let us go too far out before he pulls us back in where we belong. He is there for us in any situation or circumstance. He carries us when we are weak and he walks along side of us when we are strong. He leads often and asks us to follow. Asking God in prayer how He wants us to honor Him in our homes and hearts this holiday and the New Year ahead is the beginning of shining the light back on Him and His Son this Christmas. Setting up a tabletop nativity scene, blessing the holiday meal, reading about the birth of Jesus to young and old are all things we can start with. Making it a more meaningful, spiritual Christmas will cause us to come closer to Him and He will come closer to us.