Monday, December 24, 2018
Traditional Blessing of a Christmas Tree Pre-Vatican II

The Christmas tree represents the Tree of Life in the Garden of Paradise. But that tree was but a figure of the true Tree of Life which it foreshadowed--the Tree of the Cross upon which Our Lord Jesus Christ Redeemed us by His Death, and obtained for us the life of supernatural grace. Thus, our Christmas tree is also a symbol of Christ Himself, Who hung upon the Cross for love of us. The ornaments and decorations which we place upon the tree represent our acts of love, prayer, and sacrifice, by which our souls are adorned with the beauties of Divine Grace, merited for us by Our Divine Lord upon the Cross. The bright lights shining upon the tree represent Christ as the Light and Life of the whole world. Finally, the gleaming star on top of the tree is a reminder of the Star of Bethlehem, guiding the Three Holy Kings to the stable cave. This radiant star is also a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who as the Mother given to us from the Cross--the Tree of Life--by our Savior Himself, guides weary mankind to the foot of the manger, wherein lies her Divine Son, the Light of the World, and the Lord and Savior of all mankind.

Traditional Blessing of a Christmas Tree Pre-Vatican II (1955):

Sometime during the evening of December 24th, the Father or other head of the family [Leader:] blesses the Christmas Tree after it has been decorated.  It will be lit during the Blessing.  The others [All:] make the responses.

[Leader:]  O God, come to my assistance.

[All:] O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

[Leader:] Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for He comes.

Psalm 95
"Cantáte Dómino cánticum novum"

1. Sing to the Lord a new song; * sing to the Lord, all you lands.

2. Sing to the Lord; bless His name; * announce His salvation, day after day.

1. Tell His glory among the nations; * among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.

2. For great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; * awesome is He beyond all gods.

1. For all the gods of the nations are things of nought, * but the Lord made the heavens.

2. Splendor and majesty go before Him; * praise and grandeur are in His sanctuary.

1. Give to the Lord, you families of nations, give to the Lord glory and praise; * give to the Lord the glory due His name!

2. Bring gifts, and enter His courts; * worship the Lord in holy attire.

1. Tremble before Him, all the earth; * say among the nations: The Lord is king.

2. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; * He governs the peoples with equity.

1. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; * let the plains be joyful, and all that is in them!

2. Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for He comes; * for He comes to rule the earth.

1. He shall rule the world with justice * and the peoples with His constancy.

2. Glory be to the Father and to the Son * and to the Holy Ghost.

1. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.

[Leader:] Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for He comes.

[Reader:] A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah:
Thus saith the Lord: The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice and shall flourish like the lily. It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it: the beauty of Carmel and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord and the beauty of our God. Now, O Lord, on us have mercy.

[All:] Thanks be to God.

[Leader:] And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse.

[All:] And a flower shall rise up out of his root.

[Leader:] O Lord, hear my prayer.

[All:] And let my cry come to Thee.

[Leader:] Let us pray. O God, who hast made this most holy night to shine forth with the brightness of the True Light, deign to bless this tree (the tree is sprinkled with holy water) which we adorn with lights in honor of Him who has come to enlighten us who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. (The tree is lit.) And grant that we upon whom is poured the new light of Thy Word made flesh may show forth in our actions that which by faith shines in our minds. Through Christ our Lord.

[All:] Amen. 

Adapted from Elsa Chaney, The Twelve Days of Christmas (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1955) pp. 43-45, Imprimatur: +Peter W. Bartholome, DD, Archbishop of Saint Cloud.

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