O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, How Lovely Are Your Branches

25 Nov

“The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There’s a kind of glory to them when they’re all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy.” 
~ Andy Rooney

Before any of you take the time to email me, I know that “lovely are your branches” are not, necessarily, the words to the song.  It just depends upon which version you sing.  Some versions say that the branches are “steadfast”.  Other versions call the branches “faithful”.  They all, however, praise the tree for what it symbolizes.

Andy Rooney was one of my favorite journalist/news anchors.  He had a way of saying things with such simplicity and yet extreme eloquence.  He certainly got his message across — just as he did about Christmas trees.  There really is a certain “glory” to them, isn’t there?

Yesterday, our parish Knights of Columbus members began their Christmas tree sale.  There were cars at the parish on and off all day.  The day after Thanksgiving, their first day of sales, is generally a huge day for them.  Trees go off the lot by the dozens.  I love this time of the year because walking to our house is glorious.  Due to all the cut trees in the side yard, it smells like we are in the middle of a pine forest.

I also love the evenings when families come around to pick the “perfect” tree.  Children run from tree to tree, eyeballing them from top to bottom, seeing how far they can get their arms around the tree, feeling the needles to see if they are nice and soft or too prickly.  There is a lot of excitement that goes into the choosing of the family tree.

As the Knights and potential customers mill around the yard examining trees, I can also overhear snippets of conversations.  Many times, stories of Christmases past are shared.  Stories about trees of the past are shared as well.

Christmas trees are glorious things.  They are festooned with lights to remind us that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  Since they deck the trees used to commemorate His birth, they take on the glory of the Christ-Child.

As you see trees for the remainder these days before Christmas, try not to get sidetracked in the commercialization that they often symbolize.  Instead, see them as the symbols they truly are: reminders of the splendor of Jesus Christ and the glory that awaits us all.

FAITH ACTION:  Let not the commercialization of Christmas distract you from your spiritual preparation for the day and the season.