St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

The Christmas Tree                                                                         -Christmas Homily 2013

 

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRopKGAujnaj7M67qljLDAhf9_1LhkWqJUDBarzjbEJOqwQeDMP_gI was thinking that a good way to keep Christ in Christmas is to rediscover the religious meaning of our Christmas symbols. One of those symbols is the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree may be seen as a symbol of the tree of the Cross.

 

– Well, but it is green…

It is an evergreen, like the hope we have of eternal life, which never fades. This hope comes from the Cross. It is a hope that never fades, and that is why the Christmas tree is an evergreen.

– What are the red balls?

The red balls are the drops of blood of Jesus on the Cross.

– And the white ones?

The white ones are his body, his body with the form of the white host, with the pallid color of a body after death.

– But there is one thing in which the Christmas tree will never be similar to the Cross: the form. The Christmas tree is a triangle, and the cross is different.

That is not quite right thing to say. The Christmas tree, like every tree, has a vertical trunk with many branches coming out of it. The branches of an evergreen usually come out horizontally, like the arms of a cross. If the branches go sometimes upwards, I like to remember the arms of Jesus, hanging from the cross. If, because of the heavy snow, the branches go downwards, I think that the arms of Jesus are tired because of our cold sins. And if you tell me that the branches are too many for a cross, I guess it is because Jesus would like to have many arms to reach me when I try to escape from his love.

 

– What does the star mean?

The star is easy, it is the star that announced to the wise men the place where the baby Jesus was. (cf. Matthew  2:2, 9-10).

– And the angel on the crèche?

The singing angel that sang “Glory to God in the Highest” (Luke 2:8-14) to the poor shepherds.

– What does the baby mean?

The baby has to remind you that God wanted to become not only a man, but a baby, to be closer to you, so that you are not afraid of getting closer to him. If you have welcome that baby in your life, give praise to the Lord for that. If you have lost your baby, remember that also Mary lost her beautiful baby on a Christmas tree [the cross], but she got it back because of the power of God [in the resurrection].

We lose Jesus sometimes because of our sins, but the powerful mercy of God is able to forgive us always and make Jesus abide again in the crèche of our hearts. Our hope of forgiveness is unfailing (cf. Isaiah 1:18, John 20:23), it is ever-green like the Christmas tree.

We lose Jesus other times because of the death of those we love, but the power of God is able to give them life again, in the resurrection of the last day (cf. John 11:24). Our hope of resurrection is evergreen, it never fades.

 

The Christmas tree is like the cross, a cross of suffering, sure, but at the same time the cross of our hope in eternal life. Thank you Jesus for being born, thank you Jesus for dying for me on the Cross, thank you Jesus for bringing hope, meaning and salvation to my life. Thank you Jesus for your love. May I always love you back. Amen.  –Fr. Andrew