Christmas Tree a Sign of Christ's Light, Says Benedict XVI

Meets Austrian Delegation That Donated Fir for St. Peter’s Square

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2005 ( The Christmas tree is a sign of the «brilliant light» of Jesus, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this Saturday when receiving in audience a delegation of Austrian pilgrims, including civil and Church representatives, who had donated the Christmas tree which now adorns St. Peter’s Square. The 30-meter (100-foot) fir is from the forests of Eferding.

«At Christmas the joyful announcement of the birth of the Redeemer resounds in all parts of the globe: The hoped-for Messiah was made man and dwelt among us,» the Holy Father told his guests in the Hall of Blessings in the Apostolic Palace.

«With his luminous presence,» Benedict XVI continued, «Jesus has dissipated the shadows of error and sin and has brought to humanity the joy of divine blind love, of which the Christmas tree is a sign and a reminder.»

The Pope recognized that, in this sense, the Christmas tree is an invitation to receive in one’s heart the gift of the joy, peace and love of Jesus.

«To believe in Christ means to let yourself be encompassed by the light of his truth that gives full meaning, value and sense to our existence, given that precisely to reveal to us the mystery of his Father and of his love, he also reveals man fully to himself and shows to him his lofty vocation,» the Pontiff concluded.

Pope John Paul II introduced the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square. Every year a different region of Europe gives a tree.

The Austrian delegation also gave to the Holy Father other smaller firs to decorate rooms in the Vatican.

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