Christmas is here again and soon, people will start to put up different decorations to celebrate the season. While many people just want to perform the different Christmas traditions as they know them, the inquisitive ones want to ask questions about the different Christmas symbols with meaning. This article contains nine common Christian symbols, their origin and significance. So, if you are one of the inquisitive ones, you can find the answers you need below.
Most Popular Christmas Symbols with Meaning
Here are nine of the most common Christmas symbols and what they mean. The significances of some of the practices are common to Christians. While some have really interesting origins you have probably never heard about.
1. Christmas Tree
Evergreen trees are one of the most interesting Christmas symbols with meaning. Because these trees stay green throughout the year, even in winter, Christians believe that it symbolises perpetual hope and the new life which the birth of Christ brings. Some also say that its triangular shape represents the holy trinity.
On the side of history, Martin Luther is regarded as the person who popularised the Christmas tree as it is known today. One night, he was walking in the woods when he noticed the stars twinkling through the evergreen trees. He decided to cut one of the trees. Then he took it home to recreate the beautiful sight for his family using candles. Soon, the idea spread and became an indispensable Christmas symbol. Try some realistic Christmas trees yourself this Christmas.
The stocking reminds Christians of the importance of selfless acts of service. We trace the origin of this practice to St. Nicholas, a Greek bishop who lost his parents to an epidemic. After that, he decided to give out the family wealth as charity. On one occasion, there was an old man who was worried about the fate of his three daughters. The poor man had no money for their dowries. When the Bishop heard about this, he offered to help, but the man would not accept his money. One night, he slipped three gold balls into three stockings that hung at the fireplace in the man’s house. With this fortune, girls were able to get married.
3. The Star
It is almost impossible to talk about the birth of Jesus without talking about one of the popular Christmas symbols, the star. The star is one of the Christmas symbols with meaning linked to the bible. Hence, those stars you see either hanging on a street lamp or sitting on a Christmas tree are a representation of the star in Bethlehem which the Bible tells us about. The star led the three wise men to baby Jesus and it is a sign that the prophecy made long ago was fulfilled.
4. Christmas Bells
Before the Christmas celebration became a thing, pagans used bells to drive away evil spirits during winter. Over time, the sounds of the bell became the announcement of good things and the joys of Christmas. It symbolizes the glory and praises the angels sang to God upon the announcement of the birth of Christ. Also, some people believe that the sound of the bell is Christ the good shepherd calling his lost sheep to return to Him.
In the spirit of Christmas, here are some meal inspirations you want to try.
5. Candy Canes
Candy canes look like the shepherd’s crook. They are a symbol that Jesus the good shepherd was born on Christmas to turn the sheep back to God. The red and white stripes represent Christ’s blood and purity respectively.
Furthermore, this Christmas symbol has an interesting history. In 1670, during a choir rehearsal for a live Nativity Scene presentation at the cathedral of Cologne, the choirmaster was trying all he could to get the children to keep quiet. So, he went to buy them peppermint sticks and asked the candy maker to bend them like a shepherd’s crook. He did this to remind the children that Jesus is the good shepherd who protects his sheep.
The wreath is one of the Christmas symbols with meaning connected to pagan origin. The pagans used to decorate their homes with it to cajole the sun back to them during winter solstice because they believed that it was a wheel that rolled away from the earth during winter.
However, with Christianity, the evergreens and unbroken circle of the wreath signifies the eternal love of God and the salvation brought to the world through the birth of Christ.
7. Red and Green Colour
Modern-day Christians believe that the red and green colours use for Christmas decorations signify the eternal life Christ bring and His blood which was shed during his crucifixion. However, some historians say that before the colours became a thing for Christians, the Romans used to hang boughs of Holly in their homes to celebrate Saturnalia. Hence, it was from here that the colours gained relevance.
8. Tinsel and Spider
The tinsel is another popular Christmas symbol with an interesting history. History links the practice to a tale about a family. During one Christmas celebration, the poor family found a pinecone outside and took it in for their Christmas tree, but they couldn’t afford to decorate it. At night, a spider spun webs around the tree and by morning, the rays of the sun fell on the threads and they shone of silver and gold. These days, while some families prefer to hang tinsels as a symbol of the tale, some decorate their trees with spiders.
9. Christmas Lights and Candles
Before the invention of Christmas lights, people decorated their Christmas trees with candles. In Christianity, Jesus Christ is known as the light of the world. Hence, the Christmas lights and candles are a reminder that Christ whom we celebrate is still the light of the world. It is one of the Christmas symbols with names directly found in the scripture.
Different traditions and symbols usually have their meaning. It is as important to celebrate them as it is to know the meaning of what you are doing. We have seen different Christmas symbols with meaning in this article. Hence, you can now celebrate the season with better clarity on the practices and symbols associated with it.
If you found this list of Christmas symbols and their meaning helpful, kindly let us know in the comment section below.