Do you hang a wreath on your door at Christmastime? Maybe as you gather to eat there will be one at the centre of the table?
Have you ever wondered why we have wreaths at Christmas? Their use in antiquity was widespread:
Ancient Romans wore crowns of wreaths to show power.
Roman soldiers were bestowed wreaths of honour when they returned from battle.
In ancient Greece, Olympic winners were also awarded a wreath.
Ancient Egyptians sewed flowers onto strips of cloth forming head wreaths which were often used to decorate statues.
Bigger picture, the wreath was a winter reminder that spring would return and the Earth would once more turn warm.
So why do we hang wreaths on our doors or have them at the centre of our tables?
In 1 Kings 7.29, we are reading of temple furnishings
“On these frames and joints were ornamental lions, bulls, and cherubim. Under the lions and bulls were decorative wreaths.”
The place where God and men met in that place and at that time, the temple, was decorated with wreaths.
No longer do we head to the temple to see the presence of God among us, but we now look to Jesus (John 1.14, Philippians 2.5–11).
A wreath adds beauty and colour to the season, sure, but there is more going on when we really look at our Christmas wreaths.
The circle of a Christmas wreath is a never-ending ring, there is no beginning and no end: a reminder of the everlasting love from our Lord and King and the everlasting and abundant life that He was born into the world to purchase for us (John 3.16, 10.10).
Some wreaths are decorated with holly as a reminder of the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus before the crucifixion (Mark 15.17).
The Christmas wreath can be seen on many doors in our neighbourhoods as a sign of welcome, inviting all to enter. They can serve as a reminder of Christ’s invitation for all to come to Him (Matthew 11.28–30). All who seek find and to all who knock the door is opened.
Each time we see a Christmas wreath hanging on a door,
let us rejoice in the One the celebration of Christmas is truly for.
As you pass by a door decorated with a wreath or even hang one on your own door to welcome friends and loved ones, may the beauty of the symbols remind you of God’s eternal love and salvation, not just at Christmas, but all throughout the coming year.
Do you hang a wreath on your door or place one at the centre of your table? Perhaps you might this year…