Mission Service Activity of the Month
November 2018: Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action – Making an Advent Wreath
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
The word “advent” is from the Latin word for “coming”, and as such, describes the “coming” of our Lord Jesus Christ into the flesh.
The traditional use of advent candle, sometimes held in a wreath, originated in eastern Germany even prior to the reformation. As this tradition came down to us by the beginning of this century, it involved three purple candles and one pink candle. Often a Christ candle is used in the center of the wreath and is lit along with the four advent candles.
The purple candles matched the purple paraments on the altar (purple for the royalty of the coming King). The pink candle was the third candle to be lit (not the fourth) on Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent. “Gaudete” means “rejoice” in Latin, which is taken from Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice...the Lord is near!” Hence, a pink candle was used to signify rejoicing. Some also included a white “Christ candle” in the middle to be lit during the 12 days of Christmas, December 25 to January 5.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Organize a Wreath-Making Party at Your Church:
Creating an Advent wreath is a wonderful activity to do with children of all ages. And, a wreath-making party is a great way to invite unchurched friends, family and neighbors to your church!
Here are some tips for a successful gathering:
- Be sure to schedule the event well in advance of Thanksgiving before people are consumed with all the other holiday distractions. Publicize it well!
- Plan to offer child care or alternate activities for infants and toddlers. That will allow parents with school-aged children to work together without distractions.
- To insure a smooth flow and to allow time for other activities, consider preparing kits ahead of time. The kit should include:
- The wreath components – candles, base, candle-holders, artificial greenery, decorations, holly, pine cones, fasteners, etc.
- Detailed step-by-step instructions
- Descriptions of what each component of the wreath represents – you may find this FAQ entry from the LCMS web site useful.
- A family Advent devotion booklet or these resources:
- Recruit the youth group to be helpers.
- Offer simple snacks like popcorn, cookies and hot chocolate or cider.
- Finish the evening off with a short Christmas video and a devotion.
Taking it to the Community:
You can also share Advent wreaths and devotions in other ways such as:
- Advent wreath kits and child-friendly devotions could be included in Thanksgiving baskets distributed to needy families.
- Already assembled Advent wreaths and Advent devotional booklets could be taken to shut-ins, nursing homes, homeless shelters, safe houses for domestic abuse, and facilities for unwed mothers.
There are countless videos and web sites with ideas for making Advent wreaths. Here are just a few:
- How To Make an Advent Wreath: Howcast - The best how-to videos
- How to Make an Advent Wreath: Quick and Frugal DIY Tutorial
- How to Make an Advent Wreath for Your Family: 19 Steps - by retired LCMS Pastor Philip Bohlken.
Resources such as children’s books and activities can be found on the Concordia Publishing House web site. Here are some suggestions:
- Counting to Christmas: Family Advent Devotions and Calendar
- My Merry Christmas – Arch Books
- The Story of Christmas Coloring and Activity Book
- Christmas Traditions Coloring Book
- Best-Loved Christmas Stories
A Prayer as You Plan:
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank and praise you for sending your Son Jesus to us. Please now send Your Holy Spirit to us that we might prepare our hearts for Jesus’ return. We ask that you keep us focused on what is important during the season of Advent. Help us to seize the many opportunities to share the joy of Christmas with others, especially those who do not know of Your precious saving grace. Amen.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about, and share, your mission service activities! Please contact the Vice President of Gospel Outreach here. Thank you!