Do You Know the Meaning Behind These Popular Christmas Symbols?
When we celebrate Christmas, we know that the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is “the reason for the season!” But, do we know the historic origins of the evergreen Christmas tree we decorate each year? Or why we hang wreaths on our doors?
Many believe that the symbols of Christmas have no real Christian meaning at all. But West Angeles’ Minister of Christian Education, Dr. Oscar Owens, tells us otherwise.
Test your knowledge of the origins of our beloved Christmas symbols:
- The word “Christmas” is actually a contraction of Middle English words for the phrase “Christ’s mass,” a worship celebration and Holy Communion service honoring Jesus Christ’s nativity or birth.
- The evergreen Christmas tree symbolizes the eternal life we receive by faith in Jesus Christ.
- The star on top of the Christmas tree symbolizes the star of Bethlehem which led the wise men’s journey to the Christ child.
- The candle lights, according to Dr. Martin Luther who first placed them on the boughs of his own Christmas tree, are symbolic of Jesus as the Light of the world. They also symbolize the light we must shine on the world as believers in Christ.
- Holly wreaths are symbolic of the crown of thorns Jesus Christ wore at his crucifixion. Christians hung wreaths on their doors to let their neighbors know that a believer lived there.
- An American minister, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett, brought poinsettias from Mexico to the northern United States. The deep red flower which peaks in December was emblematic of the birth of Jesus – beauty in the midst of the bleak, drab foliage in the wintery north. Additionally, the brilliant red petals represent the blood of Jesus, shed for all humanity during His sacrificial death on the cross.
READ MORE ABOUT THE TRUE ORIGINS OF OUR CHRISTMAS SYMBOLS HERE.
Elder Oscar Owens has a passion for helping others deepen their connection to the Bible and to the Lord. He currently serves as West Angeles’ Minister of Christian Education, as well as President of the West Angeles Bible College, where he teaches Systematic Theology. He is currently studying for his Doctorate of Ministry in Christian Spiritual Formation at Azuza Pacific University’s Seminary in Los Angeles, where he also teaches Urban Spirituality. He’s been married to the powerful singer and Tony-nominated playwright Lita Gaithers Owens for 31 years.