Another Christmas season is nearby. The whole nature is getting ready to celebrate another birthday celebration of Jesus Christ.
Most of the earth-space is getting covered by snow too. Instead of nature in summer, new symbols come to the earth’s stage to emphasize that the arrival of Jesus is going to be remembered once again. Christmas symbolism draws different kinds of imagery to different people. Actually, symbolic means very personal and subjective to each person. Depending upon one’s beliefs, faith, or viewpoint, and these symbols vary to each and every one.
This season of the year marks the least amount of light shining upon the Northern hemisphere of the earth. Each day after the winter solstice gets imbued with a promise of accompanying the sun which lingers a bit longer tomorrow, than the day itself. Though the grips of winter are still firm and cruel, the promise of lightning ensures hope for tomorrow always. To welcome that light of understanding and inner illumination, most of the Christmas symbols have been created with the spirit of renewal. Let’s kindle our understanding about some of the seasonal symbols.
1. Angel symbolism
The very first symbol that we remember in Christmas is the angel. They are common in our collective consciousness in this season because they are the beings of light. Angels are symbolical messages from the Divine. It is believed that angels are an energy channel facilitating communication between you and your own idea with the divine. They are supposed to carry concepts, thoughts, and ideas to be dispersed throughout countless dimensions of experiences in between lower and higher realms.
2. Christmas tree embolism
The evergreen fir tree is traditionally being used to celebrate this winter festival for thousands of years. People decorate their homes using this tree during the winter solstice thinking of the spring to become like the Holly and Ivy which are evergreen – by keeping their happiness throughout the winter. Evergreens are symbolic of keeping fresh, optimistic, and radiant even in the harshest conditions. They are symbolic of growth, victory, and renewal as well. In the early seasons, these had been decorated with edible things like fruits to symbolize a tree that can nourish a family in a period which is with less food like winter. Most of the time, they had been covered by apples and wafers to represent the tree from which Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Some of the philosophers say that pine cones on Christmas trees symbolize the pineal gland located in the brain, between the two hemispheres which is subjected to much discussion in metaphysical circles as it is thought to be the “seat of the soul” or the “third eye” in many myths.
3. Christmas wreath embolism
As a prime root, the wreath embodies the noble circle-concept of protection, unity and balance depending upon the purpose of it. Wreaths at Christmas are typically made with Holly and Ivy for the reasons cited above. Most of the time, they are also made by laurel leaves. Some says that the ring shape may emphasize the wheel of time or the seasons as well as infinity, immortality, inclusion, community and unbreakable bond that we are having with nature with the idea of continuity of life.
4. Holly, Ivy, and Mistletoe embolism
In ancient Rome, Holly was the attribute to the sun of Gods. Early Christians recognized a deeper symbolism in Holly by associating the leaves as the “crown of thorns” and the red berries as the blood of Jesus Christ. Many ancient cultures used to accept Holly as a protective agent which chases negative energy during winter months representing health, joviality, and good faith. Traditions hold this greenery to be removed from the home before the Twelfth night. With all these things, Druidic wisdom regards the Holly as the king of winter, who is very male in gender and the ruler of the dark half of the year.
When Holly is the king of the winter months, Ivy is his queen. Both Holly and Ivy are considered as common companions during the winter season because of their evergreen status by keeping their splendor in the features like endurance, promise, hope, and vitality even in the most challenging winter season. It is believed that Ivy encourages our health and growth spiritually. Ivy and Holly sometimes represent the duality like male and female.
Mistletoe is a powerful symbol of freedom keeping in the theme of renewal and the promise of illumination. It is limitless in its capacity of growth and mistletoe is sometimes considered as the female of male tree oak. It conveys the message of fertility and renewal born from a partnership of solidity and strength, especially in the winter solstice. People believe that mistletoe has its own tremendous healing properties since its association with oak. People do kiss beneath the mistletoe as it is a plant of peace and therefore whenever a time it was spotted in a forest, the honor was paid for it.
5. Poinsettia flower
The Aztecs have unique flower meanings of their own, and they deemed poinsettia which symbolizes purity. It had been earlier called Cuitlaxochitl which means “starflower”. Interestingly, they have used its color to dye skins and clothing too. Poinsettia is not a real flower. Its red tops are actually the leaves of the plant that have changed color. However, it is referred to as a flower. This flower has been named “Flor de la Noche Santa” which means “Flower of Holy night” and “Flor de Noche Buena” which means “Christmas eve flower”.
6. Bell symbolism
If ringing bells are taken historically, they have been used to ward away the evil spirits or scare away demons during Pagan times. When Jesus Christ was born, it is said that Christians had rung the bells to warn the demons about the birth of people’s savior and the celebration of the happy news about Jesus’s birth. Bells have become associated with happiness and people use them in weddings and births as well.
7. Star symbol
The colorful Christmas stars that are hung on the trees and houses are very prominent in this seasonal decoration. Stars are something that is very common in the sky whenever we look at it. Some of them are considered special. We know about the North Star which had guided Magi to the infant Christ as the story goes. The Christmas star is also not just a colorful décor. It signifies peace by giving rays of hope that the son of God will help us confront and conquer every difficult situation that we come across. It is a great symbol that shows every good thing comes from within and that there is a silver lining in every dark cloud.
8. Christmas stockings
Many people know about Saint Nicholas being the basis of Santa Claus. He is the person who donated gifts to the little fellows and poor in the Christmas season. But the problem he met with was, how to leave those gifts at night and how children would find them out. According to the legends, he had seen some children’s stockings that were hanging above the fireplace to get dried. So, he had put his gifts through the chimney to the stockings and had thought that the kids might easily find them out in the morning. In modern culture, it is very popular among people and they make a particular stocking for each member too.
9. Yule log symbolism
The log was typically from ash tree which is thought to have protective qualities especially on children. Traditionally, a piece of yule log saved from the prior winter solstice is used to burn the current log. This symbols the continuity of life. On the other hand, it shows the renewal and life from the death by the flame of ashes like light from darkness. These are commonly used in ovens and today people tend to make cake structures showing off the same yule log structure too.
10. Candle symbolism
The first use of candles at Christmas was during the Roman festival called Saturnalia. There they had used tall tapers of wax to gift people and guests. But when Christianity spread, candles were placed in the front window to guide the Christ Child as he wandered from house to house on Christmas Eve. Later, the Christmas candle had become a large single candle that is lit on Christmas Eve to burn throughout the night representing Christ- “The light of the world” while representing the star of Bethlehem too. It also symbolizes that spring would come soon.
There are many symbols like these that are being used all over the world. They have many customs, traditions, and histories accompanied by them with wonderful stories passed to us from human ancestry over the years. Most of them are seemed to be entitled to people’s experiences, believes, and lifestyles.
Christmas is another time of year where everyone is friendly, generous, and get along with each other. There is no need for the differences of divisions among us. What I believe is that we all can learn something from the Christmas spirit regardless of race, religion, or creed.