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Blessing of a Christmas Tree

(The following text is taken from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, 78-81)

According to custom, the Christmas tree is set up just before Christmas and may remain in place until the Solemnity of Epiphany (1571).

The lights of the tree are illuminated after the prayer of blessing (1573).

In the home the Christmas tree may be blessed by a parent or another family member, in connection with the evening meal on the Vigil of Christmas or at another suitable time on Christmas Day (1574).

When all have gathered, a suitable song may be sung. The leader makes the sign of the cross, and all reply “Amen.”

Leader: Let us glorify Christ our light, who brings salvation and peace into our midst, now and forever.

R/. Amen.

My brothers and sisters, amidst signs and wonders Christ Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea: his birth brings joy to our hearts and enlightenment ro our minds. With this tree, decorated and adorned, may we welcome Christ among us; may its lights guide us to the perfect light.

One of those present or the leader reads a text of sacred Scripture:

Listen to the words of the Letter of St. Paul to Titus (3:4-7):

But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

(N.B. Ezekiel 17:22-24—I will plant a tender shoot on the mountain heights of Israel—may also be used)

Reader: The Word of the Lord.

R/. Thanks be to God.

The intercessions are then said. The leader says:

Let us ask God to send his blessing upon us and upon this sign of our faith in the Lord.

R/. Lord, give light to our hearts.

That this tree of lights may remind us of the tree of glory on which Christ accomplished our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

R/. Lord, give light to our hearts.

That the joy of Christmas may always be in our homes, let us pray to the Lord.

R/. Lord, give light to our hearts.

That the peace of Christ may dwell in our hearts and in the world, let us pray to the Lord.

R/. Lord, give light to our hearts.

After the intercessions the leader invites all present to say the Lord’s Prayer.

The leader says the prayer with hands joined:

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 illume 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.

R/. Amen.

The lights of the tree are then illuminated.

The leader concludes the rite by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying:

May the God of glory fill our hearts with peace and joy, now and forever.

R/. Amen.

The blessing concludes with a verse from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”:

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by thine advent here; disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadow put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

You can find Tony’s reflection on the meaning of the Christmas Tree, here.

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