Edward Pentin, a National Catholic Register journalist and based in Rome, wrote a good article on Christmastide –Vatican style. We are in the middle of Advent and it’s time to think of Gaudete Sunday this coming weekend. Read Pentin’s article.
My mother and the neighbors have had the Christmas tree up for a week. We’ve got three small trees. In fact, my neighborhood is alighted with Christmas lights. New York’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit last week with several stars entertaining us with “Christmas songs.” The Vatican put its Christmas tree, a gift from the good people of Bolzano, Italy (a German speaking of Italy where Pope Benedict has vacationed in the past) A little too early for my tastes. SO, it MUST be Christmas time!!! What does it all mean? But what does the Christmas tree stand for? How ought the Christmas tree be interpreted by the Catholic?
Sages from furthermost Orient stream to bow before His boundless power. Who is the King whom the prophets foretold should come to save both Jew and Gentile?
Lo! He humbleth Himself from His throne of glory, taketh on Him the form of servant. He who is God before all ages now is born of the Virgin Mary.
See fulfilled is Balaam’s prophetcy:
Out of Jacob shall a star arise–
so ’twas promised! See the Wise Men offer Him their costliest presents:
Gold and myrrh and fragrant incense.
Rising up in power and majesty,
He shall strike with dread discomfiture
Offerings significant: incense shows His Godhead;
gold, His kingdom; myrrh, His passion.
Join, then, in one solemn chorus and raise
the melody of praise and glory,
which may betoken oblations most rare
which to our Lord we fain would offer.
Praying that His true protection
over all nations be extended,
now and forever. Amen.
from the Sarum Use of the Mass, Epiphaniam Domino
Like Mary, the Church does not fear because that Baby
is her strength. However she does not keep Him for herself. She offers Him to
all those who seek Him with a sincere heart, to the humble ones of the earth
and to the distressed, to the victims of violence and to all those who long for
good and peace. (Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi 2009)