Another thing is that symbols (and parables, if I'm allowed to rant a little here) can and do have multiple meanings. Like Jacob's ladder, does it represent life and death, spiritual advancement and decline, the formation and restoration of the church? I'd say it mostly depends on what message the person thinking about the vision needs to receive at that moment. Jesus only gave the interpretations of a few of His parables (maybe only one, I'm not sure), and I think that was on purpose. I think He wanted us to see each parable however we need to see them. A candle may be an emblem of fire, of rampant destruction and unbridled passion, barely restrained by a small piece of wax, symbolizing the body; or it could be an emblem of light, sharing a small amount of brightness from one's heart to bring joy to anyone who sees it. It's all in how you look at it.
There's lots of good symbolism in many of the symbols of Christmas. Some of them may have different meanings to different people, and I'm okay with that. I don't think anyone's interpretation of a symbol's meaning is wrong, because their interpretation of a symbol is what the think of when they see it. If I see a candle and think "mortality" because the candle, while vibrant and full of life, has a limited amount of wick and will eventually die, that doesn't mean my thinking is flawed. It means "that's what a candle means to me." So, I'm not going to get hung up if what the student at institute sees in the symbols of Christmas is different than what I see. I say "to each, their own." Let them learn whatever lesson they want to learn from the symbols of Christmas. If it helps them be a better person, that's good enough for me.