Advent Wreath at Historic Trinity


Advent begins the Festival half of the liturgical church year, when we celebrate what God has done for us. In Advent we celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ came into the world as Son of God and Son of Man, born of the Virgin Mary. We worship Him as He comes into our lives each day. And we prepare for the fact that He will come again on that last day to claim us as His own. May the Advent Season fill you with Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace.


The Advent Wreath has five candles, three are blue (or purple), one is pink, and one is white. The four candles, the three blue (or purple) and one pink are placed in a wreath of Christmas greens - or an ornamented wreath. One candle is lit each Sunday in Advent, with the pink candle being lit on the third Sunday in Advent. The white candle is placed in the center of the wreath. The first candle is the Prophecy Candle. The second is the Bethlehem Candle - symbolic of the Christ Child's cradle. The third (pink) is the Shepherd's Candle - which typifies the act of sharing Christ. Pink symbolizes the Advent Rose, a time to pause in this penitent season to Rejoice in the Lord. The fourth candle is the Angel's Candle - the candle of love and final coming. The fifth candle (white) is placed in the center as the Christ Candle and is lit on Christmas Eve.

Three of the many decorated Christmas Trees at Historic Trinity

The Christmas Tree

Dr. Martin Luther was one of the first to use the Christmas tree as a home decoration. While on a walk one Christmas Eve, Dr Luther noticed an evergreen tree shining in the moonlight. He couldn't forget this beautiful picture. He returned home with an evergreen tree and decorated it with candles. Luther told his children that the tree should remind them of the brightness of Christmas and its message of the Savior's birth. By the beginning of the 19th century, all of Germany had adopted the use of the green "Christmas" tree. They added stars, sweetmeats, tiny toys, and gilded nuts together with candles on the trees. The custom spread to England during the reign of Queen Victoria, who was married to the German Prince Albert. He wanted to have his children enjoy one of his childhood memories. Queen Victoria had a Christmas Tree in Windsor Castle in 1841. The custom of a Christmas Tree soon spread throughout Europe and then to the United States. Dr. Henry Schwan introduced the custom of a lighted Christmas tree in church, in Zion Lutheran Church in Cleveland Ohio, Christmas Eve 1851.In Germany and inancient northern cultures, after the festivities, the branches were removed and the trunk was decorated on May 1st as a May Pole, celebrating a rebirth of spring. The tree was then cut up and the largest log was used the next December as the Yule Log.

A creche from Historic Trinity's collection of creches

The Creche

A Creche is a model of the stable in which Jesus was born. It always includes Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus. Traditionally there are also angels, shepherds, sheep, wise men, camels, donkey, and other animals. Whether called the French creche, the Italian Presepio, the Spanish Nacimiento, the German Krippe, the Irish Manger, or the British Crib, the recreation of the nativity scene is one of the oldest and most sacred Christmas traditions. It was St. Francis of Assisi who created the first creche in Italy in 1223. He used real animals and people to depict the birth of the Savior. The building of creches became popular after his unique and touching re-enactment of the Nativity. Creches have now become an important part of Christmas in America and around the world. The creche reminds us to focus our Christmas celebration on the Birth of the Savior, whose Birth is the real cause for joy at Christmas.

St. Nicholas as portrayed in a Live Nativity presentation at Historic Trinity

Saint Nicholas

A Creative Giver

I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance. Revelation 2:19

Saint John wrote the above words to the church at Thyatira in Asia Minor, but they could well have been spoken personally to Saint Nicholas, who lived in the same area a few centuries later. To this day the church remembers his deeds of charity and giving. Every year, the tradition of "Santa Claus" expands on his acts of kindness and love.

Not much of Nicholas' personal history is known, except that he served as bishop at Myra, a city in Asia Minor (now Turkey), in the fourth century and that he is remembered for being both generous and selfless. When he was very little he lost his mother and father by death and was left a lonely, but wealthy, orphan. When he had grown to young manhood he decided to devote his life entirely to the service of God and to use his inheritance to help people in need. Quite often, he helped poor children by putting gifts of money through their windows during the night, when nobody could see him.

The most famous story told about St. Nicholas has three happy endings. In the town of Myra, a very poor man had three daughters of marriageable age. Because they had no dowry money for any young man who might want to marry them, the girls anticipated lives as spinsters or even prostitutes. One night a bag of gold was thrown into the room where the three girls slept. The oldest daughter used the money for her dowry and married well. Soon after, another nighttime bag of god came through the girls' bedroom window, and the middle daughter also married prosperously. When a third bag of gold was thrown through the window for the final daughter, the father discovered Nicholas providing the dowry money. He was overwhelmed by the kindness of the generous bishop.

Historic Trinity with the Trees of Life and Death on either side

The Trees of Life and Death

Dr. Martin Luther is credited with originating the use of lighted pine trees in the home for Christmas. However, the use of the fir tree in Germany dates back to the Middle Ages when history tells us, fir trees were set up indoors and decorated with apples and paper roses, significant of the Fall of Man and the New Life in Christ.

The Christmas Tree decorated with apples, the fruit associated with the fall of mankind. The is called The Tree of Death. "By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin" Romans 5: 12. Under the tree is a red cloth reminding us; "Though your sins be as scarlet" Isaiah 1:18.

The Christmas Tree decorated with 33 white roses, and is called The Tree of Life. Jesus says in the Song of Solomon 2:1 "I am the Rose of Sharon" Through Him the Garden of Paradise is reopened to us. During the 33 years of His life on earth He worked out our Redemption. The tree with white lights is, symbolizing our being cleansed from sin by Christ. Isaiah 1:18; "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be white as wool".

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Historic Trinity Lutheran Church
1345 Gratiot Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48207
Phone: (313) 567-3100
Fax: (313) 567-3209
Email: Historic Trinity