DECEMBER 23, 2018 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

DECEMBER 23, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Advent

“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”

Blessing of the Christmas Tree and Nativity Scene

Christmas trees are a lovely tradition and have great symbolism.  The evergreen tree is a symbol of life, since it keeps its green color year-round (even through Minnesota winters!).  The Christmas lights remind us of Christ, the light of the world.  Christmas trees used to be decorated with apples, in addition to other ornaments, to remind us of the original sin of Adam and Eve, and of the redemption of Christ which frees us from sin.  Christmas is an important time to remember our redemption, for it was out of God’s desire to redeem us that He sent his son Jesus to be born for us at Christmas.

I encourage you to keep your Christmas tree up for at least the 12 days of Christmas (through the feast of Epiphany), or even until February 2nd (the feast of the Presentation of the Lord) which is 40 days after Christmas and concludes the Christmas season.

The nativity scene is another wonderful thing to display for the Christmas season.  The nativity scene was made popular by St. Francis of Assisi and is an excellent visible reminder to us of the humble birth of our Savior.

Here are some blessings you can use in your own home to ask for God’s blessing upon your Christmas tree and nativity scene.

Christmas Tree Blessing

Leader: My brothers and sisters, amidst signs and wonders Christ Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea: his birth brings joy to our hearts and enlightenment to our minds.  With this tree, decorated and adorned, may we welcome Christ among us; may its lights guide us to the perfect light.

Read: Titus 3:4-7

Leader: Let us ask God to send his blessing upon us and upon this sign of our faith in the Lord.

R/. Lord, give light to our hearts.

L: That this tree of lights may remind us of the tree of glory on which Christ accomplished our salvation; let us pray to the Lord.  R/.

L: That the joy of Christmas may always be in our homes, let us pray to the Lord.  R/.

L: That the peace of Christ may dwell in our hearts and in the world, let us pray to the Lord.  R/.

Leader: Lord our God, we praise you for the light of creation: the sun, the moon, and the stars of the night.  We praise you for the light of Israel: the Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of the Scriptures.  We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son: he is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace, who fills us with the wonder of your love.  Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we illumine this tree.  May the light and cheer it gives be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts.  May all who delight in this tree come to the knowledge and joy of salvation.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R/. Amen.

 

Nativity Scene Blessing

Read: Isaiah 7:10-15 and Luke 2:1-8

Leader: God of every nation and people, from the very beginning of creation you have made manifest your love: when our need for a Savior was great you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary.  To our lives he brings joy and peace, justice, mercy, and love.  Lord, bless all who look upon this manger; may it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus, and raise our thoughts to him, who is God-with-us and Savior of all, and who lives and reigns forever and ever.  R/. Amen.

 

I wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas.  May Jesus Christ, who is the reason for the season, fill your hearts with great hope and joy this wonderful time of year!

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

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