One way we symbolically anticipate the birth and soon coming return of Christ is with an advent wreath. The wreath shows us that God is eternal. Jesus said He was the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. The greens are everlasting, like the love of Christ who dies for all. And each candle, with a different meaning, reminds us that He is the light that gives light to every man.
There are several different ways to make an advent wreath but I would like to show you one that will stay fresh throughout the advent season.
The first step is to acquire or purchase your supplies. Local craft stores usually carry the following items at this time of year: a wire wreath form (I chose a 14” size); a wire advent wreath form approx the same size; 1 roll of 3-4” wide green plastic wreath wrap; a bag of milled sphagnum moss (a bag about the size of a cinderblock should be ample/don’t purchase peat, spanish or green moss by mistake); a small package of greening pins; 3 purple and 1 pink dripless candle; 4 yds of #40 wired ribbon (optional).
Step two is to soak the moss in warm water until fully hydrated (about 10 minutes).
For step three place heaping handfuls in the inverted side of wreath form until it is evenly full. Do not squeeze the sphagnum dry, as this is what will hold the moisture in to keep your greens hydrated and fresh.
Step four: wrap the sphagnum and wreath form with the wreath wrap using firm pressure, overlapping each edge slightly. If you have ever bandaged a horse’s leg or a person’s it’s the same technique. Once the wreath is fully wrapped, secure the ends with two greening pins.
Now you are ready for step six. Cut greens that you have collected from your yard or the woods into approx. 6” pieces using terminal ends. Greens can be purchased from garden centers and florists at this time of year also. I used white pine, noble fir and juniper but you may select almost any conifer. I find spruce hard to work with because of the sharp needles though it is beautiful. Boxwood works fine also.
Step seven: using a wooden floral pick (an ice pick or knitting needle would work fine) punches a hole into the wreath and enlarge slightly with a wiggling motion. Insert your stem of greens at an angle, making sure you removed the needles or foliage from the 1” stem to be inserted. Now, working towards yourself, keep making offset holes approx 2” apart across the top and sides of the wreath, inserting greens as you go. You may choose to integrate several varieties as you work your way around the wreath or insert all of one variety uniformly and then go back and add the others.
The last step is to add a bow if desired and the candles. Your wreath should be placed on a plate, tray or waterproof surface. Rehydrate as it becomes dry by allowing it to sit in a couple of inches of water.
I invite you to share your advent wreath ideas, traditions, insights and knowledge as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, the birth of the One who was, who is and who is to come.