Christmas Customs – The Christmas Tree

imageThe 8th of December is the day we traditionally put up our Christmas decorations in this house. The Christmas tree is an important part of this tradition and in our family the youngest member plays a significant role in hanging the decorations on the tree. As each one is hung memories of family, friends and places are evoked.

Some of the decorations are home/school made, some inherited from deceased family members, others came from different countries and some gifted by a friend when she returned to live in the USA. As we hang the decorations we remember in a special way all those we love, at home or abroad, those living and departed, and all those who have enriched our lives. We wish them the Joy and Blessings of this Christmas Season. Pope John Paul 11, now St. John Paul, explains the significance of the Christmas tree from the Christian perspective.

“The traditional Christmas tree is a very ancient custom which exalts the value of life, as in winter the evergreen becomes a sign of undying life. In general, the tree is decorated and Christmas gifts are placed under it. The symbol is also eloquent from a typically Christian point of view: it reminds us of the “tree of life” (Genesis 2:9), representation of Christ, God’s supreme gift to humanity. The message of the Christmas tree, therefore, is that life is “ever green” if one gives: not so much material things, but of oneself: in friendship and sincere affection, and fraternal help and forgiveness in shared time and reciprocal listening.”

  • Pope John Paul 11

Prayer when Lighting the Christmas Tree

Lord our God,
we praise you for the light of creation:
the sun, the moon, and the stars of the night.
We praise you for the light of Israel:
the Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of the Scriptures.
We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son:
he is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace,
who fills us with the wonder of your love.

Lord God,
let your blessing come upon us
as we illumine this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives
be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts.
May all who delight in this tree
come to the knowledge and joy of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.