O Christmas Tree, O Papal Tree....
"In the forest," the Holy Father said, "the trees are close together and each one of them contributes to making the forest a shadowy, sometimes dark, place."
"But here," he continued, "chosen from among this multitude, the majestic tree that you offered us is today lit up and covered with brilliant decorations that are like so many marvelous fruits."
"Leaving aside its dark garments for a brilliant explosion, it has been transfigured, becoming a beacon of light that is not its own, but rather gives testimony to the true Light that comes to this world," the Pope suggested.
He compared the tree's destiny with that of the shepherds, who "keeping watch in the darkness of the night, are illumined by the message of the angels."As Zenit noted in its brief, this year's PopeTree is dedicated in the papal colors of gold and white.
"The luck of this tree is also comparable to our own, we who are called to give good fruits to manifest that the world has truly been visited and rescued by the Lord."
While the Vatican's Christmas trappings long stayed in place until Candlemas Day -- 2 February's feast of the Presentation, 40 days after Christmas -- CNS noted that last year's ornaments were conspicuously removed following early January's feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the season's official end on the post-Conciliar calendar.