Retro Symbol, Church Symbols and Icons

Retro Symbol, Church Symbols and Icons

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There may really be no time machine, but we can go backwards in time to find out and think about symbols in the church.

. . on Earth: Symbols, Icons and Chrismons

Peace on earth coloring page

Learn the mystery of the hidden meaning of the picture.

These Peace on earth coloring pages and activity can be used at Christmas or anytime you are studying church symbols.

Oddly enough, the church never really embraced the peace symbol in the 1960's and 1970's though it's intentions were as true as the dove.

Follow the path of icons from the first century church to computers today.

Share this idea that the kids are gaining hidden knowledge!

2 through grade 6

Copy of selected coloring page for each student

Markers or crayons or colored pencils
Copy of the discussion pages.

After discussion, it's pretty much a coloring page.

Read or tell to your class. Show the pictures too! This is all in a downloadable document too.
Learn about the uses of symbols and icons in everyday life and the church. Find out about the origin of symbols in the church. Learn how "icons" have regained popularity from ancient church icons to today's computer desktop icons!
About symbols, Icons and Chrismons from ancient to modern day

In the history of the world, before everyone could read, the church used a lot of pictures known then as “icons” to help tell Bible stories and tell about God and Jesus. It all started about 200 A.D. which is somewhere around 1800 years ago. In very old church buildings, there are pictures painted on the walls or ceiling showing parts of Bible stories and Bible people.

Today we use the word “icons” with our computers and the words we use for some church pictures is “symbols and or icons”. About 40 years or so ago, a lady came up with another word: “Chrismons” which is a combination of the name “Christ” and “monogram” (initials). They are simple pictures meaning "Jesus" in some way. (for instance, a lamb means Jesus is the lamb of God.) Really they use many of the ancient icons and symbols, but they are only the selected ones that can be tied to Jesus. For example this means a tablet of the 10 commandments representing Moses and the law, would not be appropriate as a Chrismon, even though Jesus spoke of the commandments. Chrismons are generally made into ornaments for a special tree at Christmas.

Symbols can be a name, picture, or even a person’s face that everyone knows.

Some well known computer icons or symbols are:

Tell what they mean.

(favorites, back, forward, cancel, home, print, facebook, twitter)


Some well known road sign symbols are:

Can you say what any of these symbols mean?
If you are not yet driving, you will need to know what they all mean when you do take your driving test! Can you guess at some of them? Some of them were designed so people who visit us from other parts of the world, who do not speak English, could understand them.

(Guess each meaning. Here are hints: circle with line means "Do Not", orange are road construction,
yellow are warnings, and blue are informational - campground and hospital)

Over time, the church has held on to many symbols. They may look different, but they mean the same thing that they meant many years ago.

The cross is one of the all time most famous symbols. It can look many different ways, but it still means the same things.

The fish, for following Jesus is another very old symbol, which likely was used in Jesus time! It means follower of Jesus.


Many symbols have arisen from Jesus' teaching, his work, his life, death, resurrection and his mission.

The church uses a lot of symbols, especially at Christmas here are a few:

We have other symbols and their meanings in our Chrismons sets and in our New Testament section about Jesus.

Signs and symbols for Jesus

More like the above circled symbols


In the 1960’s and 1970’s, many young people were excited about peace. They wanted peace in the world. They didn’t know exactly how to go about getting it, but in their own way they tried to share the idea with the world. They used this symbol for “peace”.

In the coloring page, do you see it?
Now that you know what it means, what does the whole page say?

Older kids should look up the Bible verse to confirm it.

Do you know any other symbols or icons?
What do they look like?
Where do you see them?
What do they mean?