In the Western world, the owl has long been considered a symbol for wisdom. This is likely a holdover from Greek mythology, since Athena, goddess of wisdom, was portrayed with an owl.
The subject of Wisdom features loud and large in Scriptures, especially in the Old Testament and there are seven books collectively referred to as Wisdom Literature (These books are usually Job, the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom and Sirach.)
Proverbs 9:10 tells us that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Fear of the Lord, meaning tremendous respect and reverence, leads us to want to see and interpret things in a way that is pleasing to God, as well as an understanding that gives a glimpse into the Really Real. This is a slightly different understanding of Wisdom than what the Greeks and Romans meant. In the Greek and later Roman tradition, Wisdom was concerned with reason, logic and scholarship. In the Jewish world, however, this is not the meaning of true Wisdom.
In the Jewish, Scriptural world, wisdom refers to the practical interpretation of the natural world, its objects and events, so that a deeper insight into the real nature of things is apprehended. It requires both intuition and reason, put together to understand the workings of the divine. In the Old Testament, King Solomon is an example of this union of reason and intuition, through which he is able to understand some of the workings of the divine. In the New Testament, Jesus himself is Wisdom incarnate, which is why he comments that "One greater than Solomon is here." (Luke 11:31) It is this type of Wisdom through which true understanding is obtained, through which we can come to understand the "knowledge of the holy."
So, although an owl may not at first seem to fit into the symbolism of Christmas, in fact, it is a symbol of Jesus himself.
This blog page is a slightly different type of Advent calendar. Using ornaments, Scripture and poetry for reflection, we journey through the 28 days of Advent 2022 to Christmas morning, and the Incarnation of Christ.