Monday, December 10, 2018

Outdoor Object Lesson 86: Red and Green

Key Text

"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also." John 14:3 (WEB)


What is red and green all over? It probably did not take you long to guess Christmas. These two colors are often considered the official colors of the holiday. But other colors are popular too. Blue, gold, silver, and white can be seen adorning nearly every home and shop at Christmas. Red and green still seem to dominate all others. It hasn’t always been that way. Until the early 20th century many colors were used in decorations as much as any other. But red and green slowly came to prominence with time.

In colder climates in Europe and North America, the dark green holly plant with its bright red berries are a familiar and welcome sight. They are one of few plants that grow in the cold months and stick out against the snow. Holly is able to grow even in winter because it is an evergreen. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees F (-6 degrees C).1 Holly has long been a symbol of hope of coming spring. So the holly branch has been associated with the Christmas season for centuries. The holly branch helped to make red and green the most popular Christmas colors.

This hope is mirrored in the hope of the Christmas story in which the birth of Jesus symbolized the coming hope of his mission. The birth of Jesus did not in itself bring salvation. Jesus still had to grow up. He had to complete his ministry and train disciples to carry his message to the world. Then he had to choose to go to the cross and die for our sins. But the birth of the Messiah brought hope. It was a sign that God was in the process of carrying out his promise. It was a symbol of hope.

God is now in the process of carrying out another promise. He is working to prepare a place for you and me so that he can come again and take us to live with him for eternity. As Jesus promised in the key text, he will come again and take us back to heaven with him. Christmas is the celebration of the first advent of Jesus and a reminder that Jesus fulfilled God's promise of a redeemer to save the world. When you look at the red and green decorations this Christmas season, let them remind you that like the holly is a promise of the coming spring, so Christmas is a promise of a savior that is coming a second time.


What is your favorite Christmas color?
What else does Christmas give us hope for?
Why has Jesus not returned yet?
How long will it be to Jesus comes back?

1. "AMERICAN HOLLY," University of Kentucky, Department of Horticulture online, last updated December 7, 2018, from

Written by David F. Garner