Reflection by Tim Brown, a parishioner
Christmas Trees & Lights
I love Christmas trees and all of the traditions my family has established around the process of getting and trimming the tree. The prophet Isaiah mentions Christmas trees (cedar and pine trees) in today’s first reading, noting that they will rise under impossible circumstances as examples of God’s power and grace.
I recall many other references in the Bible of various objects of nature springing forth in seemingly barren places, only to flourish under the care and direction of Christ. The message I’m getting from this today is that with Christ on my side, anything is possible. My tree can grow and flourish under any circumstance as long as I’m being fed by Him. The Christmas tree that I will gather around with my family and friends in less than two weeks to celebrate His arrival will serve not only as an example of His power and beauty, but also as a reminder of my desire to continue to grow with and in Him.
In addition to Christmas trees, I’m also particularly fond of Christmas yard art, and all of the other attractive ways we light up the outsides of our homes. When we hang lights around the outside of our homes, we illuminate the street and invite others to share in the beauty. This is a free gift for our neighbors and any passerby. Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Lucy; her name means light. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus spoke to the crowd saying, “No one who lights a lamp hides it away or places it under a bushel basket, but on a lamp stand so that those who enter might see the light. The lamp of the
body is your eye.”(Luke 11:33)
Wouldn’t it be cool if I could give off that Christmas kind of glow through my everyday interactions with family, friends, and the random strangers I come in contact with? Christ doesn’t want me to be a mere gazer. He expects me to live my faith in a way that others can see and feel. It’s easy to see the beauty all around me right now when everything is decorated, but what’s going to happen when the lights get turned off? What Christ is telling me in this passage from Luke is that in order to be the light, I have to see the light in others, without prejudice. In order to be loved, I have to love others unconditionally. That’s certainly what he did for me on that special day in December, and what He continues to do for me every day.
A prayer to St. Lucy - Saint Lucy, you did not hide your light under a basket, but let it shine for the whole world, for all the centuries to see. We may not suffer torture in our lives the way you did, but we are still called to let the light of our Christianity illumine our daily lives. Please help us to have the courage to bring our Christianity into our work, our recreation, our relationships, and our conversation -- every corner of our day. (Catholic.Org)
+In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.