Advent Meanings and Craft Ideas

Advent Meanings and Craft Ideas

By The Rush'd Lady

Editor's Notes: The Rush'd Lady was kind enough to share this wonderful presentation on advent that she put together for her church. She also included the crafts they helped the children make!

Advent is an European custom and it prepares us for the birth of the Christ Child. We begin in the weeks preceding the holiday (Holy Day) we celebrate as Jesus' birthday by lighting a candle on each of the four Sundays before Christmas and with the "Hanging of the Greens" service in our church. It sounds the keynote we are to remember as to the reason for the season. (Isaiah 60:13).

Greenery in the midst of winter symbolizes eternal life which we are to receive from the One to Come, the Christ Child (Matthew 1:21). He is to come to save us from our sins. The other colors of the season are also symbolic of the Christ - white is the purity of Jesus from who he comes and red is the blood shed for us in his act of self-sacrifice.

Along with the hanging of the greens, usually we sing Christmas carols or songs of the Holy Season. These also helps us remember the story of Jesus' birth. Did you know the first Christmas carol was sung by angels? (Luke 2:8-14). Angels were the "news anchors" of their day (in other words, heralds or messengers).


In our "Hanging of the Greens" celebration tonight, we want to give you an opportunity to help us make our sanctuary and narthex to be a beautiful offering of worship to our Lord's coming. You can do this by making some ornaments to decorate and when you know how to do each of these, you can also make others to trim your own homes. On the following papes, there are directions for some of these and also what they mean to us as Christians.

In the olden times, back before videos, television, radio, and even lots and lots of story books, most people didn't have the means to learn to read or even own a book if they could. So to get the story of Jesus' birth to these common folks, the church leaders had to find a way to get the Christmas story to them, so they could learn the way to be a Christian through Jesus Christ their Savior. One of the methods of teaching the Bible Stories to the people was having artists paint big pictures on the walls of the church building or to have them make stained glass windows to tell the stories. Another was to write songs or Christmas carols or to put on pageants or plays to tell the stories (missionaries use these methods today in remote areas of the world). The first person to come up with a real nativity idea was said to be a monk by the name of St. Francis of Assisi. He made one in Greccio, Italy in 1223 or 24. he used real live people and animals to show people the story of Jesus' birth. It helped people realize that it wasn't just another make-believe story, but really, really happened!

Another way the church leaders found helpful to tell the Christmas story was to use the method God used in the Holy Scriptures to remind the Jews who they were - the Chosen Ones of God. They used symbols. Things that represented other things as reminders to THE STORY OF STORIES!

Many of the things we use as decorations at Christmas time are symbols. Things that represent other things to remind us in our telling of the story to our families and friends. Following below is a list of ornaments we are making tonight and the things they represent or symbolize in the birthday story of Jesus.

DECEMBER 25 = near the Jewish festival of Hanukkah or Feast of the Lights = our Light appears to save us (John 8:12)

SNOWFLAKE = Usually in the northern hemisphere it is winter during the Christmas season

CHRISTMAS TREE (country of origin - Lutherans in Germany) = evergreen=Tree of Life & of the Cruxifiction = Eternal Life or Immortality (Genesis 2:9; Luke 23:46; Revelation 2:7 & 22:2)

CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS (also came some came from Germany & some from Italy) Apples = represent Adam & Eve's fall = sin

White Roses = represent Virgin Mary = symbol of purity, love, & beauty

Candles or Christmas Lights = represent Christ = the light of the world (Matthew 4:16; Revelation 22:5)

Star of Bethlehem = Guided & still guides wise men who seek Him (Matthew 2:9,10; Luke 11:10)

Straw Ornament = straw from manger, born in lowly circumstances = Christ Child (Luke 2:7, 16)

Round Wafers or Cookies, Later Round Christmas bulbs = Last Supper, Sacred Host or the Bread of Love, Body of Christ = fruit of redemption (Luke 22:19)

Bells = announces the Old Testament High Priest in the presence of God = represents the glad tidings of the Presence of our Savior (Exodus 28:34,35)

Birds (Dove) = symbolizes the Spirit of God or the peace of God (Matthew 3:16,17)

Holly = evergreen shrub = in Germany it is known as "Christ's thorn" = the thorn woven in the crown of Christ = represents the blood that issued from his wounds for us (John 19:2)

STAINED GLASS WINDOWS (European custom) = story of the Christ Child

CANDLE IN THE WINDOW (country of origin - Ireland) = Welcome to the Holy Family = to show the Christ Child the way. There was no room for them in the inn, but there is surely a place in our home for him. (Luke 2:7)

BATHING ON CHRISTMAS EVE (we bathed the back of the "stained glass" paper windows in oil) = washed in preparation to his birth - washing and renewal of our hearts (Titus 3:4-7).

Hope you have had a wonderful time making and decorating tonight in our "Hanging of the Greens" service and in your homes this Christmas Season. May we become prepared to open our hearts to his presence and coming.

Crafts we made:

Snowflakes - Snowflakes are six-sided designs. Begin with a circle of thin paper, such as silver foiled or white paper. Fold circle in half and then in thirds like folding a zig-zig with the middle point on the fold. Cut designs on fold of paper and unfold. Nice to hang in the window or on bulletin boards. Look for pictures of snowflakes. These will help in cutting good designs.

Round Christmas Ornaments - We stamped Christmas designs on round gift tags supplied by my Stampin' Up Demonstrator friend. We colored them with magic markers and threaded a curling paper ribbon through the hole and tied to make a loop.

Christmas Tree - Cut out green paper triangles and brown construction paper rectangles. Use a piece double face tape to attach rectangular trunk to the green triangle Christmas tree. Use tiny Christmas stickers to decorate the tree with, run through a paper crimper, punch a hole in top corner to string a loop through to hang up.

"Stained Glass Windows" - Photocopy coloring pages or clip art that looks similiar to a stained glass windows, preferably ones with preferably heavy black lines. Color them in heavily on one side with wax crayons. Trim off extra paper on side of design and turn over on a paper towel. Wipe baby oil (use a postal water tube - we found several at Office Max for 69 cents and up) on with sponge tip on postal water tube. Make sure the whole back of the design is coated with oil, then wipe dry. Tape on glass windows with clear tape.

About the author

The Rush'd Lady is a wife, mother to one home schooled teen boy, gardener, crafter, a sentimental romantic and she collects clutter in her cottage home. She claims to be an ordinary American citizen, but we think she's pretty special!


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