The Holly and the Ivy – Olde English Carole
It is not entirely happenstance that Red and Green are the colors of Christmas. They are often mentioned in the Bible. Red is often used to refer to blood and can be interpreted as both life and death (i.e., Jesus blood gives life, Leviticus 17:14 tells us the life of a creature is in the blood).
Red is often used to refer to blood and can be interpreted as both life and death (i.e., Jesus blood gives life, Leviticus 17:14 tells us the life of a creature is in the blood).
Red and scarlet most often symbolize sin. For instance, check out Isaiah 1:18 and Joshua 2:18. Notice that in both of these scriptures the use of red also points to grace. In Isaiah sin will be washed whiter than snow and in Joshua the red cord keeps Rahab and her family safe, forgiven of her sin. Exodus 12:7 tells us that God told the Israelites to spread the blood of a lamb on the doorpost so that when the Angel of Death came by they would safe.
In the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, the blood was a large part of the ceremony. Offering the blood of the animal stood in the place of the sins of the person. This was a temporary solution to the sin problem. Jesus’ blood (life) was required for the final sacrifice. At that point in time, the sacrificial system was no longer needed. Red now is a symbol for life through the blood of the Lamb.
Green often describes life and rest. Psalm 23:2 tells us He gives us rest in green pastures. Psalm 52:8 says, “But I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.”
Green trees often refer to nations. “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.” Ezek 17:24. All nations and peoples will recognize God.
A green tree is also used in Jeremiah 17:8 to describe a righteous man. “For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out roots by the river, and is withered by heat or draught.”
Green as it is first used in Genesis, is the Hebrew word ‘yer eq’ and is used in verse 30. God is telling us that He provides all that we need for life by giving us the food we need.
As you ponder these words in your heart I wish you love, joy, and peace during this beautiful, meaningful season.
Blessings to you and yours!
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