Christian Symbols & Meanings: Lesson for Kids

Instructor
Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Expert Contributor
Sasha Blakeley

Sasha Blakeley has a Bachelor's in English Literature from McGill University. She has been teaching English in Canada and Taiwan for six years.

Throughout the history of Christianity, certain symbols have been important to believers as important signs of their faith. In this lesson, you will learn about popular Christian symbols and their meanings.

Symbols

What holiday do the following items make you think of?

  • stockings
  • ornaments
  • candy canes

If you said Christmas, you're right! Stockings, ornaments, and candy canes are all symbols that remind us of Christmas. Symbols are pictures, words, or other objects that are used to represent words or ideas.

Symbols can be used to show respect to something, like a shiny gold crown representing a king. They can also be used to conceal or hide something, like picture symbols concealing a hidden spy message. Just don't write your Christmas list in symbols, or else Santa may not be able to decode it!

Christian Symbols

In Christianity, there are symbols that are frequently used by people practicing the faith. Christianity is a worldwide religion that centers on a man named Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe is the Son of God, and his teachings.

For Christians, believing and trusting in Jesus and His teachings, means that you will receive everlasting life in heaven. Think of heaven like a never-ending dessert, a permanent vacation on a sunny beach, or a lifetime of snow days. It's easy to see why Christians are excited about living there!

So, what are some of these Christian symbols? Let's take a look!

The Cross

The most well-known symbol for Christians is the cross. The cross represents the death of Jesus Christ because He was crucified, or nailed to a cross, by the Romans.


Cross
cross


Christians believe that when Jesus died, He was then buried in a tomb for three days. Then, he came back to life, which is called the resurrection.

To Christians, the cross represents the painful death Jesus experienced because of His love for people. It also represents the hope of everlasting life in heaven that is represented by his resurrection.

The Fish

Some people may think of fish as scaly, funny looking, and stinky. To Christians, fish are an important symbol. The Greek word for fish is ichthys, or ichthus. The letters in this word are also the first letters of Greek words that Christians say describe Jesus.


Jesus fish
fish


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Additional Activities

Christian Symbols: More Activities

This lesson taught you a few symbols that are associated with Christianity, one of the world's major religions. Use these activities to learn more about these symbols and apply your knowledge to your own life.

Quiz Yourself

See if you can remember what the cross, the fish, and the alpha and omega symbolize in Christianity. Without looking at the lesson, write down what you remember in your own words. You can also create flash cards with key words from the lesson to make sure that you can remember everything. If you get stuck, come and read the lesson again to refresh your memory.

Compare and Contrast

Christianity is not the only religion to use symbols. If you were raised in a religion besides Christianity, what symbols are important in your religious practice? Write a compare and contrast paragraph about the purpose of symbols in your religion and Christianity. If you are Christian, or if you are not religious, choose another religion and do some of your own research into the symbols in that religion before writing a paragraph comparing the two.

Examples: The Star of David and the mezuzah are important Jewish symbols; the crescent moon and star is a symbol of Islam.

Reflection

Now that you have learned about symbols in Christianity, why do you think that these symbols are important to Christians? Why do you think symbols in any religion are meaningful to the people who practice that religion? Think about what you've learned about Christian history in this lesson and see what conclusions you can come to about why people ascribe meaning to symbols in Christianity and other religions. Write a personal reflection on your answer.

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