A state of tranquility or quiet
Freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts
Harmony in personal relationships
Merriam-Webster (2015 12 06)(Web)
As the popularity of the Christmas Tree grew, craftsmen began to experiment with more complicated and unique decorations. One such popular decoration was the dove. From the late 1600s until today, doves and various similar type birds, have been found nestled in trees from handmade lace creations to elaborate mouth blown glass in shimmering colours. The shimmery grey/white colour of the doves make them a beautiful addition to any tree, whether added sparsely as if they were flying in nature, or in a more dense manner so as to appear to be holding garland or tinsel within the tree.
Doves have represented many things over the years and depending upon family customs and traditions, each culture may have their own take on specific meanings. Doves in their earliest form were regarded as the birds of the ancient Greek gods. They represented the soul of man and were often used in burial ceremonies and within burial plots. Doves were used in sacrifice and as a harbinger of spring. In biblical times, doves were used both for food and sacrifice. On the occasion where a woman became pregnant and bore a child, she was to attend to the priest with two turtledoves, one as a burnt offering and one as a sin offering, in order to be cleansed or purified after childbirth. (Lev. 12. 6,8) This is why we see Joseph and Mary at the Temple with doves in the continuation of the Christmas story. In this instance the dove represented purification and a tie to our definition of Peace as freedom from disquieting and/or oppressive thoughts.
In its first instance, Genesis 8.11 tells of the story of Noah after the great flood releasing a dove from the ark in search of dry land. The first dove released returns to the ark unable to land; the second dove, however, finds an olive branch and returns with it to Noah. This depiction of the olive leaf in the beak of a dove has become symbol of peace to the Christian world and popularized in recent history by the artist Picasso after the second World War. Reading further into the New Testament, we find that the dove also represents the Holy Spirit. Luke 3.21-22 relates a story of the baptism of the adult Jesus and the descending of the Holy Spirit upon Him in the form of a dove.
During the Christmas season we reflect upon the prophesy in Isaiah 9:6 foretelling of the birth of child, a Messiah no less, who would have four characteristics: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. In Eph 2.14-18 we find Prince of Peace to mean one who has broken down the wall of separation. That is through the Prince of Peace characteristic separation is removed and full access is granted to the Father. Regardless of who you are, or where you have come from or what you have done you may be in full relationship with God the Father (the giver of all good gifts, more on that later). Thus the Prince of Peace [the babe born in Bethlehem and laid in manger] grants or is equal to restored harmony in a personal relationship with God the Father. Peace itself is accessed through the character of Jesus Christ and through the symbol of the dove we are reminded of the overwhelming and sustaining Peace that we have through the Saviour, our Prince of Peace.
I will have perfect peace as I trust the Prince of Peace.
19 days left . . . we are still counting down the days. Did you know in some cultures, Christmas was celebrated for 12 days. What would you do if your true love brought you two turtledoves?