Monday, 05 December 2016 08:24

Advent-ure 2016: Symbols of Christmas

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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This installment of my annual series of Advent devotionals features symbols that relate to the coming of our Savior.






1 - The apple.  The story of redemption was set in motion by a disobedient act, Adam and Eve eating the apple.  This caused separation from the Father.  Scripture: Genesis 3


2 - The ark. Noah’s Ark reminds us of God’s desire to preserve a special people for Himself. Scripture: Genesis 7


3 - The Lamb.  Abraham, when called to offer his son on the altar, said that God would provide the sacrificial lamb.  Before their deliverance from Egypt, the Israelites were to place lamb’s blood on their doorposts. Scripture: Genesis 22, Exodus 12


4 - The ladder. God confirmed His hand upon Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, later called Israel, in a dream featuring a ladder reaching into heaven. Scripture: Genesis 28


5 - The rod of Moses.  God called Moses to lead His people; the rod he carried was turned into a snake, a sign that God had appeared to him.  Scripture: Exodus 4


6 - The 10 Commandments.  The 10 Commandments illustrated God’s standards, which no one could keep; we need Jesus so that we can be right with God. Scripture: Exodus 20


7 - The priestly robe.  Aaron, the first High Priest, was clothed in garments so he could enter into the Holy Place.  Jesus is our High Priest. Scripture: Leviticus 8, Hebrews 9


8 - Ark of the Covenant.  The Ark symbolized the covenant God made with His chosen people.  We come to God through Jesus, author of the New Covenant.  Scripture: Exodus 25


9 - The star.  The prophet Balaam declared a star and scepter would come, pointing to the Messiah.  A star can symbolize light - Jesus is the light of the world.  A star was a sign to the Magi to direct them.  Scripture: Deuteronomy 18, Matthew 2


10 - The scepter.  A scepter was used to grant access to the presence of the king; our King, Jesus, admits us into His presence. Scripture: Deuteronomy 18


11 - Rahab’s red cord. As part of His plan to conquer the Promised Land, God used a woman named Rahab, a predecessor of Jesus, to hide spies that were sent on behalf of Israel. Scripture: Joshua 2


12 - The 12 stones.  Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River into the Land, and the leaders set up 12 stones in the midst of the river to testify to God’s faithfulness.  Scripture: Joshua 4


13 - David’s slingshot.  Another ancestor of Jesus, King David, had understanding of the One who would come.  A slingshot is a reminder of an early victory by the king.  Scripture: 1 Samuel 17


14 - Coal from the altar.  In a vision, an angel took a live coal from the altar and held it to the lips of Isaiah, who declared Jesus would be born of a virgin and called “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (NKJV).”  Scripture: Isaiah 6, 7, 9


15- Writing tablet.  An angel told Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son.  He questioned that and was rendered mute.  Observing a discussion about the child’s name, Zacharias asked for a tablet and wrote that it would be John.  Zacharias then proclaimed the salvation to come through Jesus.  Scripture: Luke 1


16 - Census papers.  Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem, which the Bible identified as Jesus’ birthplace, to register during the census.  Scripture: Luke 2


17 - The donkey.  God orchestrated Mary and Joseph’s journey to get them to the ordained place; perhaps they travelled on a donkey. Scripture: Luke 2


18 - Joseph’s tools.  Joseph was a carpenter, a man of skill and integrity, chosen by God to provide spiritual direction for the household in which Jesus grew up. Scripture: Matthew 1


19 - The manger.  Jesus was born in a stable, in a feeding trough.  He humbled Himself and came to earth for our salvation. Scriptures: Luke 2, Philippians 2


20 - Swaddling clothes.  Mary wrapped up Jesus.  We can be challenged to think about how we hold the Lord and His principles in our hearts.  Scripture: Luke 2


21 - A shepherd’s staff.  The shepherds received a heavenly greeting and were invited to come, to see, and to tell.  Scripture: Luke 2


22 - Turtledoves or pigeons.  Jesus’ parents followed Scriptural instructions and presented Jesus in the Temple with a sacrifice of two doves or pigeons. Scripture: Luke 2


23 - Gold.  The Magi brought three gifts, symbolizing Christ’s nature and position.  The gold symbolized royalty.  Scripture: Matthew 2


24 - Frankincense.  Incense was used in worship.  Scripture: Matthew 2


25 - Myrrh.  Myrrh prepared bodies for burial, foreshadowing that Jesus came to die. Scripture: Matthew 2


These images can inspire us to draw closer to Jesus, Who came to earth to live, die, and to be raised again.




Last modified on Wednesday, 07 December 2016 07:31
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