Pastor’s Blog: Symbols of the Season Point Us to the Savior
by Dr. Gary Colboch
You’ve heard the saying, “Jesus is the Reason for the season!” That is true, in spite of efforts to take Christ out of Christmas dating all the way back to King Herod’s effort to “take out” the baby Jesus! Today, the Christmas season has been overtaken by commercialism and busyness. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget what (Who) Christmas is all about. Yet, we are surrounded by symbols of the season that point us back to the Savior. Allow me to highlight a few of them.
Whether you are a Christian or atheist, whether you call it a Christmas tree or a holiday tree, whether you like real of artificial, the fact is that the Christmas tree points us back to Christ. It reminds us that Jesus was born for the purpose of dying. It was through His death on that old rugged cross (made from a tree) that eternal life would be purchased for all who believe.
A star is found at the top of many, if not most, Christmas trees. Stars are symbols of the Christmas season and seen on greeting cards, lampposts, ornaments, star-shaped cookies, and so much more. The star reminds us of the star the wise men followed. It was the star that directed them to the King of Kings.
The practice of exchanging gifts reminds us of the gifts the wise men brought to the house (Matthew 2:11). An undisclosed number of wise men arrived when Jesus was approximately two years old and came bearing three types of gifts. The gold was symbolic of Jesus as King, the frankincense symbolized Jesus as our High Priest, and the myrrh was symbolic of the spice that would be used to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.
Tied to many gift boxes are ribbons and bows. Christmas bows are often found on window decorations, atop of wreaths, and tied to mailboxes. No doubt that bows have become a staple part of Christmas. The bows are beautiful; but they are also symbolic and remind us of the “tie that binds,” that unity that Christ-followers find through Jesus Christ.
Candles have been part of the Christmas season from the beginning. Candles were used to decorate Christmas trees prior to the invention of electric bulbs and can now be found as decorations, in windows, on city lampposts, and used in Christmas Eve candlelight services. Christmas candles remind us of Jesus’ statement in John 8:12, “…“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Christmas bells are a beautiful part of the seasonal decorations and have inspired songs such as, “Jingle Bells,” “Silver Bells,” “Carol of the Bells,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “Come on Ring Those Bells,” and more. Traditionally, bells were used to ring in special days and to get attention prior to a major announcement. Christmas bells remind us of the announcement of Christ’s birth!
The colors of Christmas are red and green. Red symbolizes the blood that Jesus would shed to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. Hebrews 9:22 reminds us, “…without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” Green is the color of the Christmas fir tree, an evergreen tree, which represents the fact that those who call on Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Red Poinsettias are often called the Christmas flower. The red color reminds us of the blood Jesus shed to purchase our salvation and the star shape of the flower reminds many of the star that led the wise men to Jesus. The annual bloom of a Poinsettia is beautiful and symbolizes the resurrection, as the flower blooms, withers, and blooms again the next year.
Boughs of green holly are often used to “deck the halls,” to decorate homes, and to make wreaths. Holly is prickly and reminds us of the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus’ head during the trials and crucifixion. The red berries remind us of the blood He shed for us.
Mistletoe is hung above doorways and light fixtures. It symbolizes love. Tommie Connor wrote the song, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” …where…underneath the mistletoe! This symbol of love should remind us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16) and “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). God’s love for mankind is what Christmas is ALL about!
Stockings that are hung by the chimney with care are also a symbol that point us to the Savior. I know… some of you are already thinking… he’s really “stretching” this one! Think about it… when the stockings are empty, they hang limp, as though they are just waiting to be filled with gifts. Likewise, we are empty and waiting to be filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of our salvation!
Finally, for now, the candy cane is also a tremendous reminder of the story of Christmas. The “Legend of the Candy Cane” tells the story of the candy cane and its rich symbolism. Click the link for the whole story or think about the “J” shape that represents Jesus, the “crook” shape that represents the shepherd’s staff, the “red” color that represents the blood of Christ, and whenever a piece is broken-off, it reminds us of Christ’s body that was broken for us.
With so many Christmas symbols pointing back to Christ, it makes me wonder how anyone could miss the message of the manger found in Matthew 1:21, “And she (Mary) will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Without question, Jesus is the Reason for the season! This year, look for those Christmas symbols that point to Christ and receive God’s gift of salvation, if you have not already done so.
Pastor Colboch, Mrs. Colboch, and their daughters wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas season! If you would like to know more about receiving God’s gift of salvation, you can reach Pastor at 954-421-0190, [email protected], or at Grace Church.