Before the rush of Decemeber begins, take an evening out, invite your friends and neighbours round and be crafty together! Serve some winter Pimms with warm apple juice as you gather round the kitchen table.Ask them to bring some greenery from their gardens that you can share together and you are all set,,,

Advent wreaths

The old German tradition of making an Advent wreath is probably the most basic way of marking the weeks immediately before Christmas. It consists of a simple circle woven from twigs of evergreens with four candles (traditionally purple, although white candles with purple ribbons around them may be used instead) around its circumference. The wreath is completed by placing a fifth (white) candle in the centre to be lit on Christmas Day.

The wreath is a rich source of symbols which help to remind us of the significance of Advent. A circle is one of the traditional ways of symbolizing eternity since it has no beginning and no end. The living green of the twigs from which it is made contrast with the colourlessness and lifelessness of this time of year, reminding us of God’s promise of new life for the lifeless fulfilled so completely in Christ’s coming. The candles remind us of the light of Christ shining in the darkness of the world. Their number, four, represents the four weeks of Advent but, beyond that, they remind us of the centuries during which the faithful remnant of Israel waited for the coming of the Messiah and of the millennia during which Christians have awaited his second coming. The purple of the candles reminds us that it is a king for whom we wait. The increasing amount of light as more candles are lit each week announces that the celebration of Christ’s coming draws steadily closer. Finally the fifth candle, for Christmas Day, is white and represents Christ the Light of the World.

Assembling the Advent wreath is an activity which could involve all the family in different ways: gathering the evergreens, weaving them together. The Saturday before Advent Sunday would be a good day to have a go at making your own Advent wreath.
Here is a simple way to make an Advent wreath.

1. You will need either a home made wire ring or a ring oasis from a florist.
2. Decorate with holly, ivy, moss, laurel or any available greenery.

3.You will also need 4 candle holders available from florists. Put four candles (white or red) into the holders

4. Add ribbon. This can easily be done using florist’s ribbon tied onto stab wires. You can go for the tinsel and glitter look although people now prefer a more rustic look with raffia and twigs trailing. Just check when you buy the extras that everything is fireproof and suitable for going adjacent to candles.

There was a very famous advent wreath shown by Blue Peter’s Lesley Judd and John Noakes, made of wire coat hangers and lots of tinsel, every home had their version of it. As you work together, it is a great chance to chat through some Christmas memories and hopes for the future. No need to produce a lengthy sermon but a great opportunity to talk about Jesus as the light of the world and the One who makes Christmas special for you.

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