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What are the colors of Christmas in the Bible?

What are the colors of Christmas in the Bible?

The colors of Christmas bring warmth and cheer to the cold winter season. Red, green, gold, and white decorate trees, wreaths, houses, churches, and town squares. But where did these festive colors come from? Many have roots in the Bible and Christian traditions surrounding the birth of Jesus. Looking at the history behind Christmas colors gives insight into their symbolism and meaning.


Red is one of the most prominent Christmas colors, showing up on decorations, clothing, and Santa’s suit. The vibrant hue represents several key aspects of the Christmas story:

Jesus’ sacrifice

Red symbolizes the blood Jesus shed when he died on the cross. His sacrifice is at the heart of Christmas, making salvation possible (Hebrews 9:22).

The Holy Spirit

Red also points to the work of the Holy Spirit. Tongues of fire descended on Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost, empowering them to spread the gospel (Acts 2:1-4).


Red decorations are a reminder of God’s love, shown through the gift of his son (John 3:16). Red poinsettias specifically evoke Christ’s sacrifice.


As the royal color, red honors Christ’s kingship. The wise men brought gifts to the infant King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-2).


Green symbolizes new life and growth in nature. In Christmas decor it points to:

Eternal life

Evergreen trees and wreaths signify the eternal life Jesus makes possible. His birth opened the way for us to live forever with God (John 3:16).

The Trinity

Three green advent candles represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some also see them as symbols of faith, hope, and love.

Life and light

Green decorations remind us Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10) and shine light into darkness (John 1:4-5). The holly plant’s green leaves and red berries make it a perfect Christmas symbol.


Shimmering gold decorations point us to:


Gold proclaims Christ’s kingship. It was one of the gifts presented to him by the wise men (Matthew 2:11).


The golden halos on nativity figures indicate Jesus was not just human, but God himself come to earth (John 1:14).

The star

Gold stars atop Christmas trees recall the star that rose in the east and led the wise men to Jesus (Matthew 2:1-2).


Like the sun, gold decorations remind us that Jesus illuminates our lives and world.


White symbolizes purity, holiness, and salvation:

Jesus’ purity

White represents the sinlessness of Christ. He lived a perfect life so he could be the flawless sacrifice to atone for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21).


White reflects the holy light of Jesus coming to dwell with people (John 1:14). It also calls to mind the whiteness of angels, like those who proclaimed his birth (Luke 2:13-14).


White indicates the cleansing from sin Christ makes possible by his sacrifice. Our scarlet sins can become white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).


While less common, blue can also be found in Christmas decorations. It points to:


The vast blueness of the sky calls to mind the heavens which Jesus descended from. True blue also indicates faithfulness and constancy.


Blue robes distinguish Mary in many artistic portrayals of the nativity story. The color signifies purity since Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus (Luke 1:34).


Because it rarely occurs naturally, blue pigment was considered precious. It came to symbolize longing and the hope Christians have in Christ.

Pine, Holly, Poinsettias, and Christmas Trees

Beyond decorative color, certain Christmas plants and trees have symbolic meaning:


The evergreen pine represents eternal life with God. Pine boughs and wreaths decorated ancient Roman winter solstice celebrations.


Holly’s hardy leaves and red berries symbolize Jesus’ passion and death in the midst of winter. The pointed leaves recall his crown of thorns.


In Mexico, poinsettias are known as the Flower of the Holy Night. The red leaves symbolize the blood Jesus shed for us.

Christmas Trees

Evergreens promise life even in winter’s barrenness. Decorated trees point to Jesus brining light and abundance to our dark world (John 1:4-5).

The Colors of Christmas Reveal Profound Truths

Christmas colors and plants act as visual reminders of God’s love and Jesus’ birth, life, and sacrifice. Their rich symbolism enriches our celebration of the miracle of the incarnation. Displaying these colorful decorations allows us to share the profound meanings of Christmas with others.

The red, green, gold, white, and blue hues tell the gospel story. They serve as an inviting witness drawing unbelievers to ask about their significance. For those who believe, they deepen our awe and wonder as we once again reflect on how God became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

Color Symbolism
Red Jesus’ sacrifice, the Holy Spirit, God’s love, royalty
Green Eternal life, the Trinity, life and light
Gold Royalty, divinity, the Bethlehem star, light
White Purity, holiness, salvation
Blue Heaven, Mary, hope


The traditional colors of Christmas have roots deep in Christian theology and point to the truth of Christ’s birth. Red recalls his sacrifice and love. Green signifies the eternal life and light he brings. Gold indicates his kingship and divinity. White represents purity and cleansing from sin. Blue points to heaven and hope. Decorating with these hues fills our Christmas celebrations with meaning. The colors of Christmas proclaim profound gospel truths, from Jesus’ incarnation to his atoning death. They lend richness and symbolism to the season commemorating our Savior’s birth.