What is the Hanging of the Greens?

Children hang wreaths on the sanctuary door at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., during the church's annual Hanging of the Greens service. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.
Children hang wreaths on the sanctuary door at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., during the church's annual Hanging of the Greens service. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

The service of Hanging of the Greens focuses on preparing for the birth of Jesus and the second coming of Christ.

The practice of bringing evergreens into the sanctuary started in Europe and continues in many churches with European heritage to this day. Evergreens were a symbol of the eternal coming to dwell among us as Word made flesh. They were also a sign of life and growth overcoming and flourishing in the midst of the dead of winter, and so of the resurrection of Christ. Over time, other attributes were given to specific evergreens, as we hear in the carol The Holly and the Ivy.

Hanging greens at the beginning of Advent points to the second coming and culmination of all things in Christ.

As we draw closer to Christmas, evergreens point to the incarnation and life of God dwelling among us in the birth of Jesus.

Resource: Hanging of the Greens service

 

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