Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What Color is Christmas

“And an angel of the Lord appeared to them [shepherds and sheep], and the glory of the Lord shone around them.” Luke 2:12 (RSV)

Where did red and green, the dominate colors of Christmas, originate? Some attribute them to the Miracle Plays popular in the 1300's. Year after year, in the December 24th dramas of Adam and Eve, actors tied red apples to green trees to represent the Garden of Eden. Although tastes in literature changed, the visual remnants of red and green carried over from the creation pageants into Christmas dramas and celebrations.

Studying the symbolism, Christians recognize red, a visual emblem of Christ’s blood shed for forgiveness. Green can denote both eternity and new life essential for Christian growth.

Fashions change, and now there are other Christmas colors. My favorites are the luminescent, sparkling hues of white and gold. I think of heaven filled with light, reflecting golden tints of sunshine. I think of Jesus who is light and life. And I think of angels as being light, airy, white and gold. In all likelihood, when these beautiful beings looked at the sheep, they didn’t see snowy white wool. They must have seen wool covered with the debris of the world: dirt, straw, leaves, weeds, cockleburs—completely symbolic of spiritually impure men contaminated by the world’s immorality. 

Hovering between heaven and earth, angels surrounded by the glory of the Lord brought the message. The Savior, born to forgive us and restore us to spiritual purity, had come. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, coats of sheep and the lives of men will become pure, golden, the color of light and the color of Christmas.

Lord, Thank you for the Christmas colors which remind us of you and your love. Amen.

© 2012 V. Colclasure

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