The Holly and the Ivy is one of my favourite Christmas carols. But I have always wondered why the song started with both plants but ended with the Holly being the superior of the two trees.

The holly is an ornamental tree that is believed to bring good luck and repel evil. It is one tree that remains evergreen even when the cold fingers of winter has withered and shriveled the souls of its surrounding woody cronies; this ability makes it symbolically linked to life and hope. The plant is also associated with exuberance and enthusiasm. In Roman culture it represented good wishes. In summary, the Holly is a plant with a cheerful disposition.

The Holly’s thorny nature also makes it protective in the sense that it is used to make hedges to keep people safe from predatory elements.

On the other hand there is a type of Ivy called the poison ivy. This plant causes a lot of blisters and irritation on people who come in contact with it. Sometimes, the anaphylactic reaction it causes can snuff out a life. The fume it releases when it is burnt is toxic to the lungs. Approaching this plant requires a lot of caution because it is dangerous.

As amazing as it might sound, human beings are likened to trees a lot of times in the pages of life. Jesus was called the Tree of life, David; the famous Hebrew king said that a good man is like a tree planted by the side of a river. He also said that the growth of this dude’s life is akin to that of the cedars of Lebanon and his existence abounds like a flourishing palm tree.

The holly person is jolly, makes people see beyond the winter of life, and helps to insulate people in the warmth of his conviviality. Everyone finds a friend in the holly buddy; he is a Barnabas (son of encouragement) to everyone. He prepares a spread of joy amongst colleagues, dishes out a feast of geniality like Santa Claus giving a toy to an indigent kid. The holly individual helps us forget the frosty attitude of the elements and makes us look towards the hope of spring. With him we feel we are sitting before the comforting heat released by the laughter of crackling logs in a fireplace while the world outside is filled with the howls of nature’s frustration. The holly person is a defense from pain. He heals because he injects us with the serum of roaring mirth and a merry heart doeth good like medicine. The holly nature is sweet.

Unlike the holly dude, a poison ivy person is sour, dour, abrasive and nasty. No one wants to be around this guy. In his wake, is other folks’ shattered self esteem, blistered self confidence, and scratched feelings. God help you if you are around this person on his bad day, you will nearly be choked with the deadly fumes of bitterness. This person is has a noxious effect on a spouse, children, colleagues, neighbors, friends, name it. It is lethal to have him around. He pours cold water on the bonfire of your vivacity. Poison ivies do not feel good except put someone down or backstab another. It is in their nature to cause a world of hurt. People usually cry around them. They rain down snow on others parade, don’t give bonus or even worse still, withhold salaries during Christmas. They are selfish; all they care about is me, myself, I and mine. The poison ivy person is mean!

As much as hampers and all the thrills of Christmas are so cool, please don’t let’s get it twisted and forget the reason for the season. The main gift of Christmas was a human being, the Christ. When he was born, the angels declared that following his birth was goodwill and peace towards men.  We are supposed to be the true gifts of the season.

Truth is if you are not known for peace and goodwill, you have no business celebrating this season, blot it out of your calendar in an awful hurry. Jesus was friendly, it was recorded that he went about doing good.

Considering the differences in these two plants, it is not a surprise that the holly is the king amongst all the trees in the wood. Little wonder too that it is associated with the Christ. IF YOU WANT TO BE A KING AMONGST MEN THEN YOU HAVE TO BE A HOLLY!!!  That is when you will initiate angels to continually sing this refrain to men, “GLORY BE TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND ON EARTH, PEACE AND GOODWILL TOWARDS MEN”!!!

Be a holly buddy this yuletide period; stand out as the tallest tree in the forest of humanity. Make someone’s Christmas wonderful and unforgettable.

So, the question is if we are living trees, what kind of tree are you?



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