Grapes: the blood of Christ; grapes used to make Eucharistic wine.
Water: life-giving and cleansing; represents baptism and purity; impossible for man to control.
Trinity knot [Triquetra]: ideogram representing the Godhead. Mandorla (almond-shaped frames or aureolas) have surrounded deity in art across countries and centuries. The mandorla shapes represent God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and are formed by arcs of three interlocking aureolas that emphasize unity and eternity.
Palms: the victory of the spirit over the flesh; Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-13).
Peacock feathers: immortality and Christ’s resurrection; from the ancient belief that peacock flesh never decayed.
Evergreen boughs: immortality and eternal life, as the needles stay green throughout the harshness of winter.
Red [featured color of the title of this piece and the Messiah banner]: the blood of Christ.
Wheat: abundance; the staff of life; bread, and therefore the body of Christ; Jesus as the bread of life (John 6:48).
Hyssop: purification, cleansing. Hyssop was a plant used in purification rites by ancient Hebrews.
Alpha and Omega [hidden behind “Counsellor”]: first and last letters of the Greek alphabet signifying the eternal nature of Christ (Revelation 1:8).
Pomegranate: Christian symbol of the resurrection and hope of eternal life; the fruit broken open is symbolic of the fullness of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection.
Fish: fish made by drawing two intersecting arcs are said to have been used by early persecuted Christians as a secret symbol of identification. Also, the Greek word for fish (ichthys) forms an acronym for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.”
Olive branch: ancient symbol of peace; from the account of Noah when a dove brought back an olive branch to the ark (Genesis 8:11).
Holly: pointed leaves represent Christ’s crown of thorns; red berries represent the blood He shed.
Nails: used to hang Jesus on the cross.
Sun: life, energy, force, strength, and rebirth. Jesus said, . . . I am the light of the world . . . (John 8:12). Also, the power of light to shine through darkness, as good will shine over evil.
Circle: eternity, unity, perfection, unchanging, wholeness, infinity.
Square: the material world (four corners of the earth, four seasons, four compass points, four elements); stable, orderly, a firm foundation.
Circle inside a square: the incorporation of heaven (circle = eternity) into earth (square = material world).
Interlocking squares [eight-pointed star]: the number eight is associated with resurrection, new beginnings, rebirth, and renewal.
Eight-sided forms were believed to mediate between the symbolism of the square (earth) and circle (heaven), as Christ is the great mediator between heaven and earth, man and God.