The Evergreens of Advent
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
One of my favorite traditions at the beginning of Advent is the “Hanging of the Greens” service. This is an opportunity for us to look at the various symbols of Advent and remember how they relate back to Christ.
Evergreens are a wonderful way we decorate our homes, churches and communities in preparation for Christmas. While many kinds of evergreens are
used, each unique variety points back to Christ:
- Cedar represents Christ’s everlasting reign because he purifies our hearts;
- Pine and fir trees do not die and are signs of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
- Round wreathes, with no beginning or end, recall how the Messiah’s reign is never-ending.
- Holly and ivy grow during the dark, cold winter months. Their prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns Jesus wore at the crucifixion while the red berries represent Jesus’ blood.
My sister Debbie is a florist. She can magically take a few raw materials and arrange them into beautiful creations. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, Debbie took various freshly cut evergreens, sticks, pine cones and ribbon and designed these gorgeous arrangements for in front of our house.
As beautiful as these planters are and as special as Debbie’s creations are, the evergreens point us back to whose birthday we celebrate. As we hang greens this Advent, may we see them as more than ways to spruce up our homes, churches and communities. May they point us back to the Christ child.
Lord God – the symbols of Advent and Christmas are all around us. As much as we enjoy seeing the beautiful greens, help us see how they point us back to your very special Son. Amen.
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