Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Tree is the Church

Every year, thousands of trees are sold around Christmas Time. I believe this is because of the birth of the Saviour of the World, but occasionally it seems like it's not. After the purchase, people generally put it in the corner of their living room or some similar location. Then comes the Decoration. Often people wrap tinsel around the branches, hang identical balls or icicles and put a star or angel on top. Often it is very neat and tidy, well conceived to welcome the coming of a King. Or is it?

I have never been a huge fan of these neat and tidy trees with identical ornaments and well trimmed branches. Instead, my family has always had a thousand different ornaments, all different all unique. Some are kitsch, some are huge and plastic. Some are delicate and glass, some are metal sculptures of angels. Some are paper and some are the more typical balls and icicles. It's a mess of different things all thrown together, united by the green of the tree and the string of lights that threads its way unevenly through the branches. And it's strangely beautiful.

People who know me know that I don't like messy. I don't like kitsch. I don't like trite or sentimental. Somehow I do love this tree we have every year. It might be something that I realized this year: The Tree is the Church.

Hold, on, stay with me. It's not as strange as you think. We're all a mess. We all have those moments when we're not sophisticated, when we don't quite have it together. Sometimes we don't want to be serious or perfect. We, the people of this earth, are a motley crew. And if we're only left to ourselves to throw each other into boxes, the mess will be apparent. We'll lose our purpose and we'll lose our love for humanity, not to mention the love of God.

But 2000 years ago, give or take a couple years or so, God decided to take us out of the boxes we'd been building for the whole of history. He wanted us to be united not by self inflicted categories causing only chaos but rather by the Hope of Salvation and the Light of the world. His birth brought the Kingdom of God into the world so that He might bring His Chosen People, the Church into Heaven. His Birth was the conception of the Church, though it wouldn't celebrate its birth for another 33 years.

The Christmas Tree that we put up, with all its mess, IS the Church. It's all the members, no matter what state of life, no matter how sinful or unenthusiastic. We're all united by the green of hope and the light of salvation. And we must thank God for bringing us together to celebrate His birth and His plan of salvation.

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