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).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!
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 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, &
Candles or Christmas Lights = represent Christ = the light of
the world (Matthew 4:16; Revelation
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
Bells = announces the Old Testament High Priest in the presence
of God = represents the
glad tidings of the Presence of our Savior (Exodus
Birds (Dove) = symbolizes the Spirit of God or the peace of God
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!