The Christmas Tree with Blessing
The decorating of an evergreen tree at Christmas as we know it can be
traced back to an old German custom, and more popularly known,
Victorian England. Just as the evergreen wreath symbolizes eternity and
fidelity, so the lush evergreen tree can said to represent the same.
Scripture is filled with the significance of trees, in both the Old and
New Testaments, see the Psalm below. Generally the tree is not
decorated until late Christmas Eve as Advent is still a season of
penance, if not as filled with sorrow as Lent is. However, some
families find the preparation for Mass the next day Christmas dinner to
be of such importance that the Christmas Eve is taken up with these
preparations, so on the Third Sunday of Advent, they choose to put up
the family tree. Certainly the tree should not be up the day after
Thanksgiving as is done in so many homes today. Customarily the tree
should be adorned with little family treasures and religious
symbols. Bright balls and lights are fine also and lend a festive touch
especially for children of all ages, as do handmade garlands from
natural items, such as popcorn or berries; little birds are very
appropriate for the symbolism and dried plants and fruits. The idea of
jolly Santas, elves, Christmas puppies in socks, etc., are of more
recent development and not appropriate because we are celebrating
Jesus' birthday. Many families place the crèche under the tree
and gifts, if exchanged, are not placed there until Christmas Day or
after Midnight Mass.
THE CHRISTMAS TREE BLESSING
Father or Leader.
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Who hath made Heaven and earth.
All the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord, for He comes.
Psalm 95 (divide the group and alternate reading the lines).
This Psalm begs us to praise the Lord and sings of His coming at the
end of time. Our Lord warned us to watch for the signs of His Second
Coming in the Gospel for the first Sunday in Advent. We add to this,
this night, our anticipation of another celebration of His first coming.
Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all ye lands: Sing to the Lord, bless His name,
announce His salvation, day after day:
Among the heathen tell His glory, His marvels to every people.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, to be feared more than all the gods:
The gods of the heathen are nothings, but the Lord-----
He made the Heaven.
Glory and majesty stand before Him, strength and splendor are in His sanctuary.
Declare to the Lord, ye families of nations, declare to the Lord His glory and strength:
declare to the Lord the glory of His name:
Offer sacrifice and come into His courts: worship the Lord in holy attire,
Tremble before Him, all the earth! say among the nations: The Lord is King.
He has set the earth firm, not to be moved, He rules the peoples with justice.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice, the sea thunder with all its waves:
Let the fields be glad, and all their creatures, all the trees of the wood shout for joy
Before the Lord, for He comes, for He comes to rule the earth:
He will judge the world with justice, and the peoples with His truth.
Antiphon repeated (all).
AIl the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord, for He comes.
Lesson from the Prophet Ezechiel, 17:22-24 (leader)
Thus said the Lord God: I Myself will take the top of the high cedar,
and will set it: I will crop off a tender twig from the top of the
branches thereof, and I will plant it on a mountain high and eminent.
On the high mountains of Israel will I plant it and it shall shoot
forth into branches, and shall bear fruit, and it shall become a great
cedar: and all the birds shall dwell under it, and every fowl shall
make its nest under the shadow of the branches thereof, and all the
trees of the country shall know that I the Lord have brought down the
high tree, and exalted the low tree: and have dried up the green tree,
and have caused the dry tree to flourish. I the Lord have spoken and
have done it. All. Thanks be to God.
And there shall Come forth a shoot. All. Out of the root of Jesse. Leader. In Him was life.
Leader. a Lord hear my prayer.
All. And let my cry come unto Thee. Leader. The Lord be with you. All. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray. Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, Who hast caused
Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to be planted like a tree of life in
Thy Church, by being born of the most Holy Virgin Mary, bless, we
beseech Thee, this tree that all who see it may be filled with a holy
desire to be ingrafted as living branches into the same Our Lord Jesus
Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of " the Holy
Spirit, God, world without end.
Amen. ! (Sprinkles tree with holy water.)
Then the family can sing a song, an Advent carol, if it knows one, then
it is time to bless the crib and eat Christmas Eve supper.