My husband, the minister, serves two churches. One gets kind of forgotten because it only has about 12 members who are all pushing 80 and rarely stay awake during the service. The other church has about 200 members. But, Bryan serves both. He tends to be very sensitive about the little church getting left out in the cold.
I don't know if all denominations do it, but the United Methodist church has an Advent Wreath at the altar during the Advent/Christmas season. It has three purple candles and a pink candle around the wreath, and a large white candle in the middle. One candle is lit each Sunday in advent, until Christmas Eve, when the big "Christ Candle" is lit. Each candle signifies something and when it is ceremoniously lit during service the person reads what it means, blah, blah, blah.
Anyway, the little church hasn't had an Advent wreath in years. So, when Bryan first started serving that church he said that wouldn't do. He borrowed a cheap, unused, plastic holly wreath from the big church, a wooden advent candleholder, and some used candles. The little church was very appreciative and enjoyed them until....
About the third week in Advent last year they lit the third candle. The candles were already low because they were hand-me-downs used in years past. At the end of the service as Bryan was walking down the aisle giving the benediction and all heads were bowed, he gets to the end of the aisle at the back of the church, turns around and sees the apparently highly flammable plastic wreath on the altar catch fire. He abruptly finishes his benediction and RUNS down the aisle and desperately blows and stomps out the wreath/advent fire. He did get it out with little damage to the altar, although I believe a few of the pacemakers in that bunch of people had to be reset.
We went last night to look for the now melted advent wreath, hoping to salvage some of it. We were hoping at least the holder could be mended and used. They apparently threw it away. In retrospect, I think that was a hint. Even though we didn't find it we threw together some candleholders from the house and a new, hopefully non-flammable wreath. Today when the old folks walked in, Bryan mentioned the advent wreath now in the center of the altar again. Well, this is probably a you-had-to-be-there thing, but the look on their faces was hilarious! I've never seen such terror in an 80 year old man's face in my life. You would have thought we told they were getting drafted into war again.
We did light it and it did not catch fire. Yet. I will say, the did not fall asleep during THIS service. They were on the edge of their seat the entire time!