What's the Point of a Christmas Tree?

Pontiff Explains Symbol of Life and Hope

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- "With its loftiness, its green [color] and the lights in its branches, the Christmas tree is a symbol of life that points to the mystery of Christmas Eve," says Benedict XVI.



With this, the Pope explained Friday the Christian meaning of the Christmas tree. He was speaking to the delegation from the Austrian region that donated the 108-foot-tall tree in St. Peter's Square.

"Christ, the Son of God, brings to the dark, cold, unredeemed world in which he was born, a new hope and a new splendor," the Holy Father said.

He went on to recall the "deeply Christian soul of Austria," and he encouraged the pilgrims to "work so that also in the future, this testimony of Christ remains vibrant, to give men support and guidance in their lives."

"If man allows himself to be touched and enlightened by the splendor of the living truth that is Christ," the Bishop of Rome affirmed, "he will experience an interior peace in his heart and will himself become an instrument of peace in a society that has so much nostalgia for reconciliation and redemption."

The tree, a Norway spruce from the municipality of Gutenstein in Lower Austria, was decorated with some 2,000 ornaments and 1,500 lights.