Hanging a wreath on doors is a family tradition that has been carried on for many generations in my family. Grandmother’s wreath was small and she probably purchased it from the local old five and dime store in our small Georgia town. It only stayed on the door a few days before and after Christmas. In ancient Rome, people used decorative wreaths as a sign of victory.
The origins of the Advent wreath are found in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who, during the cold December darkness of Eastern Europe, gathered wreaths of evergreen and lighted fires as signs of hope in a coming spring and renewed light. Christians kept these popular traditions alive, and by the 16th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light. From Germany, the use of the Advent wreath spread to other parts of the Christian world. Traditionally, the wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens with a fifth candle in the middle. Three candles are violet and the fourth one is a hue of rose, but four white candles or four violet candles can also be used. Each day at home, the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal– one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th. A short prayer may accompany the lighting of each candle. The last candle is the middle candle. The lighting of this candle takes place on Christmas Eve. It represents Jesus Christ being born.
As your guest arrive, one of the first things they will see is your front door. Make them feel welcomed as they arrive with gifts and surprises, no doubt. After all, they’re excited that they’ve finally arrived at your house.
What are your going to serve your guest? Perhaps a light meal of ham and asparagus before bedtime is appropriate.
Where will your guest sleep? They’re tired and they want to be made comfortable. So whether the sleeping area is opulent or simple, not to worry, they will be happy. After all, they’re at your house and it’s Christmastime.
What about the ambiance? There is nothing like the warm glow of candles. They are both soothing and can serve to confirm the spirit of welcoming that you have worked so hard to impart.
What’s next? Relax and enjoy your guest. Christmas is just a day or so away and the hard work is now behind you!