Wreaths are not just hung at Christmas even today. But it seems that for centuries they have been used and associated with many cultures. From what I have studied they have been around for centuries. Back as far as the first olympic games winners were presented with a Laurel wreath. But even before that they were possibly used as a sign of power or authority.
While the Germans were credited with bringing us the Christmas tree, they may also get the credit of decorating with wreaths at Christmas time. Turns out, the first uses of wreaths as Christmas decoration came from not wanting to waste. You see, when they would trim the tree to get the triangular shape they would then take the leftover trimmings and form them into the shape of a wreath in order not to waste anything.
But there is also some symbolism that comes with using wreaths in our decor at Christmas time.
The circular shape of the wreath and using evergreen material symbolizes eternal life. Which we know can only come through Christ.
“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
As Christians we know that we will have eternal life with Him, because we are adopted into the kingdom of God as his sons and daughters. When we give our life to Jesus, we are sealed for the day of redemption and our life is eternal in Him, through Him, with Him. When you see the ring of the wreath that may have been some of the thought processes in the making of these wreaths to remember.
Many Christmas wreaths are made with holly leaves and red berries. The thorny leave of a holly were used in a wreath to symbolize the crown of thorns that were put on our Saviors head when He was crucified. It may have been a way for the early Christians to remember what Christ did for us on the cross.
“And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him.” Mark 15:17
When the Roman soldiers placed the crown of thorns on His head they were mocking Him. Little did they know He deserves a crown. Not the painful, sharp, thorny crown they put on Him but the greatest most beautiful crown of all time.
The red berries of the holly that were used symbolized His blood that was spilled for us.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7
He gave His life on a cruel cross so that we may have forgiveness for our sins. It is the pure grace that He extended to us. All we have to do is receive it.
There are also various other wreaths that are used to adorn the Christmas season. There is the advent wreath that is used to countdown the four weeks leading up to Christmas. When using an advent wreath you light a candle and read scripture pertaining to the themes of the four weeks, Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The lights on the advent symbolize that Jesus is the light of the world.
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5
What I am noticing is that the wreath could be a way of reminding us that yes as we celebrate Christmas and the fact that Jesus came to us as a baby, with humble beginnings, being born in a stable and laid in a manger, that we also need to remember where it ends. The wreath can be a way of pointing us not just to the baby Jesus, but to our Savior Jesus by remembering what He did for us on the cross and that the crown on His head and the blood that was spilled was for us. It was for the eternal life that is ours to receive if we just follow Him.
You see Christmas is not just about the baby Jesus but it is also about what He did for us on the cross. I never realized how the wreath could remind me of that until now. I hope you will remember with me.