Joyful Christmas, new year's blessings Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008 -- 1:00 AM

Praised be Jesus Christ!

It’s my joy to wish you and your loved ones every blessing of Christmas and of this holiday season — blessings which will extend throughout the new year.

It’s a joyful time for all of us, even those of us who might be, for one or another reason, hurting. We are not dispensed from the call to be joyful at Christmas, because Christ our Savior is born, and He is the only true source of our hope and of light for our life.

Placing our hopes somewhere apart from Christ would be a mistake and would allow our hopes easily to be disappointed. And so, at this Christmas season we look first and foremost to the Lord, who is near, and we rejoice that the fullness of love is always very close to us.

Symbols of Christmas

As I was growing up, the center of our Christmas observance was always the image of the Nativity Scene. And to this day, in my residence, I have a bright light illuminating that Nativity Scene to remind me of that central focus of Christmas.

But from the time I was growing up, I also had a deep love for the symbol of the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is a tower of light, usually crowned with a star or with an angel, meaning that it’s a tower of light reaching up to heaven. It is a tower of light during a season when daylight is short and we miss it. This tower of light, reaching up to heaven is, in the first place, a symbol of Christ who is the light of the world, who, in his coming as man, joined heaven and earth.

In the second place, the Christmas tree, this tower of light, is a sign of the Church. We are called to be a tower of light, reminding people to reach up to the angels, to reach up to the stars, and to love the things of heaven. That’s what we’re all about at Christmas, being that tower of light, reaching up toward the heavens.

Being lights of the world

And, last but not least, each one of us, you and I, are called to be light for the world. We’re called to be, like the Christmas tree, the tower of light, reaching up toward the angels, reaching up toward the stars, reminding people of heaven. That’s who we are to be at Christmas and throughout the new year.

So, as we focus on that image of the newborn Christ in the manger, let us also take advantage, especially in our families and with our friends, to remind people of the beautiful symbolism of the Christmas tree. We are to be the ones who bear the sense of the world, the meaning of the world that is to be found in the newborn child, Jesus Christ, and not anywhere else.

So, let us reach up, as our Christmas tree reaches up, in our homes, at our work places, where we recreate, and in every other venue of our lives. If we do that, the joy and the hope of Christmas will abound in our own hearts. And, that joy and that hope will be contagious to all of our brothers and sisters, and that is simply what we’re all about, especially at Christmas time.

Christ is born! Let us glorify Him! Praised be Jesus Christ! A very blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you!