Many of you might have heard the story why some trees are called evergreen trees and how they were rewarded to keep their leaves green forever by their kindness to the little bird with the broken wing while the trees that refused to help the bird were thrown down by the northern wind of the Frost King. Evergreen Christmas tree used at Christmas decorations has a long history and a very deep symbolic meaning.
Symbolic meanings of Christmas tree
1) Legends say that the branches of an evergreen tree, dusted with snow, was used indoors and was decorated with candles, lighted in honor of birth of Jesus Christ. Evergreen trees such as fir and spruce are used as Christmas trees since they withstand the severe winter and keep themselves green. Faith in God can withstand any temptation or trial and keep the soul evergreen.
2) The green color of the tree has a significance to the life force that should be perennially fresh. Green refers to an act of glorifying God for His creation in nature. The birth of Jesus is not an incident to be dried up and thrown out as one day ritual of the year; but is to be kept fresh and green throughout our life, activating our daily activities with the purpose of Christ’s incarnation.
3) Needle-like leaves of evergreens point towards heaven reminding the destiny of human beings to reach God, fostered by the water of His love.
4) The evergreen tree stands for every Christian or every human being. God created the universe and a beautiful world with everything for our welfare. The evergreen represents the tree of life. It refers to everyone of us to yield fruit or be useful in some way. All of us are expected to sing with joy with the Psalmist, “Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth.” (Psalm 96:12-13)
5) The evergreen tree stands for Christ himself. The Christmas tree is a wonderful symbol and reminder of human salvation and forgiveness through Jesus. That is why Peter wrote, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1Peter 2:24)
The late Pope Blessed John Paul said II said during an Angelus message before 2004 Christmas, “The Christmas tree is an ancient custom that exalts the value of life, because the evergreen tree remains unchanged through the harshness of winter. When gifts are arranged under the tree, it becomes a symbol of ‘the tree of life’, a figure of Christ, God's greatest gift to all men."
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