Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Symbol

Rockefeller Center (click on image to enlarge)

The Christmas tree remains one of the most popular symbols of the Christmas season. Whether a simple tree in our home or the most magnificently decorated tree in a public place like Rockefeller Center the tree bears the same meaning.

In a wonderful book on so-called children's stories entitled "The Owl, the Raven, and the Dove",  G. Ronald Murphy S.J. explained the origins and meaning of the tree and its decorations. 
The evergreen tree has found its most lasting and most emotional place in our culture, without a doubt, in the Christmas tree, an amalgam of Germanic legend and the Cross. In December of every year the tree comes into the house. A tree inside the home after all the centuries that have passed is quite miracle enough. To glorify and celebrate its ancient, compassionate magic power, it is decorated with lights (with burning candles in Germany!) and with tinsel, to make sure it looks radiantly stolid and happy despite the cold and ice. Then a star is placed at its peak, since Wise Men must surely find their way to this tree. Below the tree, as if he had just emerged from its trunk, the true source of the warmth of the Tree of the Universe and its power to renew life, encouragement, and protection against all the kinds of cold, is lying in a manger: the newborn child. *

                         O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
                        how faithful are your leaves.
                        you are ever green, not only during the summer,
                        but even during the winter when the snow falls.
                        O Tannenbaum, O tannenbaum,
                        how faithful are your leaves.

Click here for a brief video of the song that contains a clip from Joyeux Noel, a French film about the christmas battlefield truce in the first year of WWI. Or view the video below. Merry Christmas.


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