Our family has a handful of Advent traditions, but the Advent wreath is at the very top of our list. If our year is particularly hectic, we can forgo many, more optional activities. But the Advent wreath is a constant; something that keeps us grounded in hope, peace, joy and faith, no matter what’s going on around us. The tradition of the Advent wreath is indeed a blessing in our family.
Our Advent wreath is nothing fancy. But it does have a story …
Back in 2009, I purchased a wreath online. I kept waiting and waiting for it to arrive. And then, I found out it was on backorder! Of course, I panicked, as Advent drew closer and closer, and we were without an Advent wreath! I remember desiring a more peaceful approach to Advent that year (OK, every year). But I realized that even though I was trying to keep Advent free from cluttered busyness, my approach was all wrong, and my perfectionism was ultimately complicating the real peace of Advent.
The back-ordered Advent wreath was a wake-up call for me to stop trying to make a perfect Advent. We can’t buy or make Advent. But we can experience Advent and pray Advent and focus on Advent. We just can’t force it. So, I let go of my ideas for my wreath, as well as other plans that I thought had to happen. I created a wreath out of some white votive candles and some greenery.
This simple wreath ended up setting the tone for that entire season …
… And when my real Advent wreath finally did arrive, well, it was in pieces
, and we couldn’t use it anyway!
After getting a huge apology and refund from the company from which I purchased my wreath, I was about to throw it away, because really, I had already let go of it weeks ago when it was on back order. Then my handy husband said, “Wait! I think I can fix it.” And he did.
And in 2010, our family had our Advent wreath.
My husband wasn’t sure if the Advent wreath would last long, because the material that it is made from was difficult to make sturdy again. But I didn’t mind! That year, I didn’t have to worry about finding a new wreath or making another one, and I loved lighting the traditional purple and rose candles once again.
Well, it is 2013, and this Advent wreath has remained intact and has blessed our family’s Advent for several seasons now. We usually light it during dinner, and someone always blows out the candles too early or when it’s not their turn. Sometimes, we’ll light it after dinner, during our family prayer time, too.
This year, I added some greens and pinecones to it, because I like the natural wreath look, too.