Evergreens and Holly
For many families, the Christmas season officially begins with the Christmas Tree. Whether using a real or artificial tree, there are few symbols today that say "Christmas" more than a beautiful pine tree bedecked in tinsel, lights, and ornaments. There are often many fond memories of Christmases gone by where the entire family works together to turn an ordinary plant into the cornerstone decoration of the season. To a lesser degree, many families look at the bright red and green of the Holly plant is an essential part of Christmas.
Like many of our Christmas traditions, these three symbols can trace their origins before Christians adapted them to the celebration of Christ's birth. Even so, as we celebrate Christmas, we should see how the symbolism today reflects the Good News of Christ's birth.
The Evergreen tree has long symbolized new birth and everlasting life. Even in the midst of a hard winter, their evergreen nature reminds us that in darkness and through death we endure through the blood of Christ. Take a moment this week to talk with your family and loved ones about how John 3:16 and Romans 8:11 are Christmas verses!
The Holly has symbolism both in its colors and in the plant itself. Some countries call the Holly the "Christ Crown" because of the symbolism in the thorns on the leaves - reminding us of the crown of thorns Jesus wore on the cross. The red berries remind us of the blood shed for us, so that we may have life! This Christmas season, read Isaiah 53 and talk with your friends and loved ones how we celebrate not only the babe of Bethlehem, but the suffering servant. Lord of all creation, pierced for our sins.
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Zach Kellner is the Associate Pastor of Worship at FEFC