In the Christmas carol The Holly and The Ivy the characteristics of the holly reference our Savior Jesus Christ. The ivy is barely mentioned at all!
I’ve given this a bit of thought and wonder if there is a lesson to be gleaned from this. The majority of the carol refers to the holly. Only the smallest snippet is given to the ivy.
I’ve read all about the pagan rituals and symbolism of holly and ivy and the contest between men and women. But I’ve got another take on this carol and its inclusion of the ivy. Maybe, this song lends itself to offer a deeper message.
What if we are the ivy?
Ivy requires support if it is to climb higher. It is often found clinging to man-made walls or trees. It can’t reach any height on its own. Ivy has three “points” to its leaf. Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Ivy is hardy. It’s tough to kill and its roots dig deep. We must be “hardy” to survive the perils of this life and still thrive. We have to have roots that can “dig in” to sustain us.
Ivy prefers growing in the shadow of larger trees that can protect it from the heat. I know I can use our Savior’s protection. He has saved me from “hot” situations in the past. I certainly trust Him to save me from eternal flames.
The references to the holly in the song’s lyrics overshadow the ivy. Shouldn’t we allow our Lord and Savior to overshadow us? Rule over us? Should we not depend on Him (and not ourselves) if we are to ever reach the heights God intends for each and every one of us?
I may be reading far more than the author intended in this carol.
Or, God may be using my love of Christmas and all things green to once again reveal this truth to me. Jesus must be the most prevalent influence in my life. I must allow my will to be diminished and submitted to Him if I am ever to meet the heights He desires for me. I must cling to Him for support. And live in His shadow.
One of my favorite carols is not about the ivy. It’s about the holly.
Life is not about me. It’s all about Him.
Take this Christmas Season to enjoy your friends and family, eat great food, meet, greet and be merry.
Yet… it is all about Him!