Value of Christian Symbolism
Expression of Christian Values
Christian symbols place meaning with Christian expressions onto various objects and items. Christianity has actually borrowed from many different common symbols that have been known all over the world in various regions over history. Religious symbols are important because they can often appeal to the emotions and the intellect at the same time. There are only a certain number of objects that have been chosen as symbols and sometimes, it appears as if Christianity is trying to imitate another tradition because it has chosen some of the same symbols. But overall, Christianity, though it has some of the same symbols as other faiths, has attempted to deliberately start new traditions through the symbols it has chosen.
Some of the element symbols have significant meaning in the Christian church. Water, due to baptism, is representative of purity and cleansing. Fire, especially when it burns on top of a candle, can represent light as well as the Holy Spirit. Examples of these symbols are all over the Bible.
Bread and Wine
Bread and wine, when coupled with the communion ritual and sacrament, are representative of the body and blood of Christ. Christians associate eating the bread and drinking the wine with a holy action
The dove is also representative of the Holy Spirit. The dove was prevalent in many of the Bible stories as far back as Noah’s Ark’s tale. In this story, the dove is a great symbol of peace. After the great floor, the dove returns to the boat with an olive branch to show that God has ended His period of judgment and started a new covenant with men. When Jesus was being baptized in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove descended upon him.
As far as early Christianity is concerned, the fish was the most important symbol. The fish could be seen on tombs and other monumental sources and it appears to have been familiar to some of the earliest Christians. The fish symbol, when it was first claimed by Christians, was a sign of faith. At the time, many Christians were being persecuted. In order to recognize each other, when two people were talking, one would draw the symbol of the fish in the dirt with his feet. If the other person was also a Christian, he would recognize the symbol and draw the same sign with his own foot. The two would then know that they were speaking with another Christian and it was then safe to reveal their faith.
The Borromean Rings are three rings that are latched together in their centers. These rings represent the trinity. There are plenty of symbols of the trinity within Christianity, but the rings are one of the most popular. The word trinity actually comes from a Latin word that, when translated, means “three are one.” The trinity and the rings represent the idea that God is one being that manifests into three different persons, all of which are equal and eternal.
Star of David
The Star of David is a six-pointed star that is created by locking two triangles together. The star was named after King David and it still resides on the Israeli flag. The star is usually used as a symbol of Israel as well as Judaism, but many Christians identify with the symbol as well. The five-pointed star is actually a symbol that is often associated with the birth of Christ.
Today, the most important Christian symbol is the cross. It is also the most widely recognized Christian symbol in the world. Virtually anyone and everyone understands that a person wearing golden cross jewelry or a diamond cross pendant is from the Christian faith. The symbol, in its true form, stands for both the death and resurrection of Christ. It also stands for the messages the Christ brought with him into the world. It is one of the most powerful symbols in the world. The value of wearing such a symbol in the form of crucifix jewelry is great. The wearer is identifying himself or herself as a Christian to anyone and everyone they meet. People no longer have to draw symbols of their faith in the dirt; they can wear a gold cross pendant or a crucifix pendant out in the open.
The cross is a reminder that the Christ died for us. He died for our sins and still showed compassion and forgiveness to the people who tortured and crucified him.