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Christianity Symbols

For thousands of years, certain designs have been instantly recognized as Christianity symbols. Some symbols, such as the cross and Ichthys, have no meaning outside of the religion, while others, such as the rainbow and candle, are not symbols that are exclusive to Christianity.

By far, the most recognizable Christian symbol is the cross. The cross is what biblical accounts depict Jesus Christ as having been crucified on. Today, the cross symbolizes Christ’s triumph over sin and death. Many Christians, particularly females, bear a cross every day, usually in the form of a necklace. This type of jewelry immediately identifies the wearer as a follower of the Christian religion.

Many Christians also display the cross in their home. Some hang a cross made of metal or wood in a spot in their homes, or they may have some keepsake near their bible. Roman Catholics typically keep a cross that still depicts the crucified body of Christ, while Protestants usually use the cross by itself.

The next most common of Christianity symbols is the Ichthys. As known as the Jesus Fish or the Christian Fish, this symbol is comprised of two curved lines that loosely resemble the outline of the fish. This symbol was used by early Christians as a way to identify themselves to other Christians. Because followers of the religion were being persecuted, the Ichthys was meant to be a secret symbol that only other Christians would know the meaning of. It is said that the design was carved onto the doors of meeting places to let followers know they were among other believers or that sometimes, a believer would draw one half of the symbol and wait for someone they were meeting with to draw the other half, like a secret handshake.

Today, the Ichthys symbol is anything but secret. Christians who prefer to display this symbol typically do so in the form of a sticker or plaque that is affixed to an automobile. Some also choose to display it on clothing, hats and jewelry. The Jesus Fish is usually shown swimming to the left, and some depictions include the word Jesus, a bible verse or cross.

Another Christian symbol that is not often displayed but is instantly recognizable is that of bread and wine. In the bible, bread represents life or the body of God. Jesus is quoted as having said in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry." Wine represents blood that was spilled and God’s promise to his people.

While bread and wine are not symbols that are usually drawn or displayed to signify one’s Christian faith, they are still very much items that are used daily in Christian life. Communion is a religious practice where believers use bread and wine as a way to remember the sacrifice Jesus Christ made and to thank him for it. According to 1 Corinthians 11:24, Christ said, "And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." This passage has been taken to mean that Christ commanded Christians to partake in Communion. Communion is a practice which Christians are expected to perform many times over their lives.

Other Christianity symbols include the crown of thorns, the dove, the lamb, the Christian star and the Borromean rings. Some of these symbols, such as the crown of thorns and the lamb, are best recognized from the bible or other biblical stories. Others symbols, such as the butterfly, the apple, the dolphin or the daisy, are not exclusive to Christianity, but do hold certain meanings.