Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christmas Tree Blessing

I've really enjoyed Traci Smith's Seamless Faith for it's everyday suggestions about how to incorporated conversations and easy rituals into family life. The following is a seasonal example as we approach Advent and the annual installation of Christmas decorating:
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This tradition allows families to bring a moment of spirituality to the secular tradition of decorating the tree. Try having a different family member read the blessing each year.

Designed for All Ages

Time Investment: 1-2 minutes

Materials:

1. Blessing (printed below)

2. Christmas tree (before decorating)

3. Manger scene/crèche scene (optional)

How To:

1. Before the tree is decorated, gather everyone together around and read the following blessing:

God who created the bird in the air, the fish in the sea, the stars in the sky, and the trees in the ground, bless this tree as we decorate it and make it a joyful symbol in our home. May its branches remind us of the shade and shelter you provide for us and for many creatures. May its trunk remind us of your strength. May its light bring us peace. May we remember your gift to us this season, the gift of the baby Jesus. Amen.

2. Optional (see note below) РAfter decorating the tree, set up cr̬che or manger scene below the tree.

Note:

In the United States there seems to be a sharp division between secular Christmas traditions (the tree, the stockings, Santa) and Christian traditions (the manger scene, attending church, singing Christmas carols). As the tree is the focal point in many homes during Christmas, blessing the tree and setting up a manger scene under the tree (as opposed to gifts) can highlight the Christian significance of the day, something culture has lost sight of.

Variations:

· Print the blessing on an ornament and say it as the ornament is hung on the tree.

· Write a new blessing each year and collect them from year to year.

· Cut down your own tree and say this blessing before the tree is cut down and brought home.

· Adapt the language of the blessing to the age of your children or your own traditions and culture.

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