Life Is “Ever Green,” Says John Paul II
1. The feast of Christmas, perhaps the most cherished by popular tradition, is full of symbols connected with the different cultures. Among all, the most important is surely the Nativity scene, as I had the opportunity to point out last Sunday.
2. Together with the Nativity scene, as is true here in St. Peter’s Square, we find the traditional “Christmas tree.” A very ancient custom, moreover, which exalts the value of life, as in winter the evergreen becomes a sign of undying life. In general, the tree is decorated and Christmas gifts are placed under it. The symbol is also eloquent from a typically Christian point of view: It reminds us of the “tree of life” (see Genesis 2:9), representation of Christ, God’s supreme gift to humanity.
3. The message of the Christmas tree, therefore, is that life is “ever green” if one gives: not so much material things, but of oneself: in friendship and sincere affection, and fraternal help and forgiveness, in shared time and reciprocal listening.
May Mary help us to live Christmas as an opportunity to feel the joy of giving ourselves to brothers, especially to the neediest!