Catholic Prayer: Blessing of a Christmas Tree
The use of the Christmas tree is relatively modern. Its origins are found in the medieval mystery plays which depicted the tree of paradise and the Christmas light or candle which symbolized Christ, the Light of the world.
According to custom, the Christmas tree is set up just before Christmas and may remain in place until the solemnity of Epiphany.
In the home the Christmas tree may be blessed by a parent or another family member, in connection with the evening meal on the Vigil of Christmas or at another suitable time on Christmas Day; the shorter rite may be used for this purpose.
The lights of the tree are illuminated after the prayer of blessing.
These orders may be used by a priest or a deacon, and also by a layperson, who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister.
All make the sign of the cross as the minister says:
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Now and for ever.
One of those present or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture, for example:
Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the apostle Paul to Titus (3:4-7):
But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
Genesis 2:4-9—The tree of life in the center of the garden. Isaiah 9:1-6—A son is given to us. Ezekiel 17:22-24—I will plant a tender shoot on the mountain heights of Israel.
A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.
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. All: Amen.
Holy Lord, we come with joy to celebrate the birth of your Son, who rescued us from the darkness of sin by making the cross a tree of life and light.
May this tree, arrayed in splendor, remind us of the life-giving cross of Christ, that we may always rejoice in the new life that shines in our hearts. We ask this through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
From Book of Blessings, ©1989, Liturgical Press