What did you find around the foot of your Christmas tree this year?
I imagine you may have found any number of things. I found a robot called “Vector” that reminds me of the old Irish song “Marvelous Toy.” (https://youtu.be/047P7U5ev_E) My dad found (from me) a prank puzzle box claiming to boast a 12,000 1/4-inch-piece puzzle of the moon in an otherwise clear, blue sky.
Included is a picture of my tree. As you can see, we have a lighted star on top, with many (MANY) ornaments and colored lights throughout the rest of it, and of course presents at the base. While all of this may be beautiful in and of itself, it should also be seen symbolically. The star can represent the Star of Bethlehem, with the lights upon the tree signifying the star’s light streaming down onto the first Christmas “Present”—Our Lord Jesus Christ—beneath it.
What does this symbolism mean for us today? Is this just something to remember, think fondly of, and forget in the glory of our robots and 12,000-piece puzzles? Quite the contrary.
Imagine if, rather than wrapped boxes, one were to find the Infant Jesus under his tree. Now I have a sad habit of getting a present, being very happy about it, but then not doing anything with it; and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this. Could someone do this if he found Baby Jesus under his tree? Of course not! Christ is a baby, He’d beed to be nurtured and cared for.
The truth is, we have all been given Jesus as our Christmas present by God the Father. Another truth, less fortunate, is that we often accept this gift and forget about it. Like with the example of Baby Jesus, however, we cannot do this if we want anything to come of this gift. We can’t accept Christ into ourselves and then forget about Him. We need to “nurture” Him within our own hearts if His life is to thrive within us. How do we do this? Through prayer, through the cultivation of virtues and good habits, through showing love to our neighbors, and—most relevant here—through remembering this wonderful Gift God has given us, the Reason for the Season, the Reason for our hope, the Reason for our perseverance in goodness and our resistance to sin.
Wishing you a merry and blessed Christmas season!