The other day I was sitting in the living room just looking at our Christmas tree. In my family we always put an angel on top of the tree, the Angel obviously representing the Angels singing to the Christ Child and announcing his birth. But the tree we have in our home here in Houston has a big red sparkly bow on the top.
So I began to wonder why we have a bow on the tree. Is it so it looks pretty? Is it because we don’t have an angel to put on top? Or is there more significance to it?
The Christmas tree has always had traditional symbolism to it, the evergreen representing God’s unconditional love, the shape pointing to heaven, and I even heard once that it is a reminder of the tree in the garden of Eden and the ornaments represent and remind us of the fruit (I am not as convinced of that one but it still works for my purposes).
I think that the bow on the Christmas tree is a reminder for us that all of these things, God’s Love, Heaven, our Creation in the garden and the promise of a savior are God’s free gifts to us. That God, becoming a tiny baby, is a gift to us. That the joy of the Christmas season, even in the secular sense, is God’s gift to us. Everything is a gift from God! I pray that in this Christmas season (well for society, still the season of Advent liturgically) we can all remember the gifts God has given us, that as we see a Christmas tree or a wreath, especially if it has a bow on it, that we remember THE GIFT of Christmas, The Word made Flesh, dwelling among us.