Many familiar Christmas symbols are full of biblical meaning and Christian history. Here is a short list of te most common things to wow your mind.
The botanical name for the genus of mistletoe is Phoradendron (phor meaning “thief” and dendron meaning “tree” in Greek). As a partly parasitic plant, mistletoe does in fact act like a thief, because it “steals” nutrients from its host tree. But it is only “partly” parasitic, because it has the ability to photosynthesize its own food and survive independently. However, mistletoe is generally found on trees, and it will use whatever means necessary to survive. It has been known to endure extremely harsh weather and even droughts by reaching deep beneath the tree bark of its host to drain water and minerals. Most scholars believe that the “golden bough” is mistletoe on the branch of a tree, since mistletoe can have a golden-like appearance. Interestingly, since the Middle Ages, Virgil’s writing (the author of Aeneid) has come to be viewed as symbolic and even prophetic regarding many aspects of Christianity. Whether there is any merit to this claim or not, the image of a golden branch certainly calls to mind the many Old Testament references to Messiah as the “Branch.” Since the purpose of Virgil’s golden branch was to save Aeneas from the land of the dead, the reflection of Jesus is further emphasized in the Christian mind.
The most common symbolism is as follows:
- The hard candy reminds us that Jesus is our rock. — Psalm 61:2
- The cane shape reminds us of a shepherd’s staff and the shepherds that came to worship Jesus. It also reminds us of how Jesus came into the world to be a shepherd of his people. — Luke 2:8-15 and John 10:11
- The upside-down candy cane forms the letter “J” and reminds us of the name of Jesus which means “God saves.” — Matthew 1:21
- The peppermint flavor reminds us of the gift of spices from the Wise Men. — Matthew 2:11
- The white candy reminds us of purity and holiness. It recalls the virgin birth of Christ, the sinless life of Christ and the holy life that Jesus wants his people to live. — Matthew 1:23 and 1 Peter 1:15
- The color red reminds us that Jesus became a real flesh and blood man and spilled his blood to save his people. — Hebrews 2:14
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