St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church


St. Bart's Blog

Our Wagon Wheel Advent Wreath

Posted by Nathan Costa on

The Advent wreath is a domestic symbol: its simple circle and four candles mark the four Sundays of Advent for families waiting to remember the coming of Christ at Christmas. The tradition of making Advent wreaths from wagon wheels comes from ancient Nordic and Celtic sun-worshipping communities. In the darkened and snowbound winter months, wheels were taken taken off wagons and brought inside for preservation. Placed on tables or hung from the ceiling or on walls, they were often decorated with evergreen branches as a symbol of the promise of the sun’s continued life, even during the dark season. During that time, people stayed close to home and waited with patience and anticipation for the sun’s return. This symbol of promise and anticipation was eventually adopted by Christian communities, especially in northern and central Europe, for Advent, their season of hope for their God’s return.

In recognition of its origin from simple domestic items, our wreath, constructed by sexton Mike Jewett, is made of a wagon wheel, is decorated with evergreens, and sits among the people, recalling its early purpose of marking winter time for quiet reflection and anticipation.