“Our Christmas Tree Symbols,” Ensign, Dec. 1986, 56
The Lord frequently uses symbols to teach us of his mission and his relationship to us. Several years ago in Relief Society, a friend of mine used simple gold paper cutouts to present some of these symbols as “symbols of Christ’s Christmas tree.” I was impressed with how effectively these symbols could be used to teach the true meaning of Christmas. Our family now has such a tree each year—with new symbols added each Christmas.
Decorating the tree this way is a lot of fun. We read the scriptures and determine what symbols the Lord has used in his teachings and parables, and then represent them with pictures and realistic miniatures. My grandchildren like the challenge of identifying each symbol and its meaning.
Our tree represents not only the life and mission of Christ, but also the plan of salvation. We begin with a large blue Christmas ball with a picture of the Christus on it—representing Christ as Lord of the universe. We use a clear white ball with a light inside to represent the light of Christ, a small gold crown to show Christ is the King of Kings, silver chains to symbolize our agency, a small sword to represent truth, a small trumpet for the last days—the list goes on and on.
We started with the traditional Christmas symbols, but each year as we read the scriptures we come up with new, more creative symbols for our tree. We now have over a hundred ornaments, each of which has a special meaning to our family.
As we decorate the tree, we talk with our children and grandchildren about each ornament and what it symbolizes. We explain that the purpose of the tree is to remind us of the birth of Christ, his atonement, and his love for us—and of the promise of eternal life if we keep his commandments.—Elizabeth K. Ryser, Salt Lake City, Utah