When should Maronites put up their Christmas Tree?

In a recent article I wrote about families “sacramentalising” their home and how we are all called to build a domestic Church in our own homes. You can start by basing your home life on the Maronite liturgical year. The Maronite liturgical calendar is an educational tool which can draw our families nearer to Christ. Each year the calendar journeys with Christ from his birth, to his death, and beyond his resurrection.

One way of sacramentalising the home and journeying with Christ is by meaningfully timing when we put up our Christmas tree and decorations. The Maronite season of the Birth of Our Lord spans over six Sundays beginning with the Announcement to Zechariah. This year it begins on Sunday 15 November 2020.

Use the decorations as an opportunity to initiate discussion in the family about the significance of the season. Include in the decorations a place where you can place the Christmas icons.

There are many theories about the origins of the Christmas tree including that it evolved from what was once a pagan custom. However, you can relate it to the Maronite Calendar by speaking about the Genealogy and Christ’s family tree. Genealogy Sunday is celebrated as the last Sunday before Christmas. The tree can be a reminder that the birth of Jesus was the fulfilment of a prophecy which is contained in Isaiah 9:6-7. Read it together as family before putting up the tree.

‘For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.’

The tree can inspire us to look back at the events of the Old Testament. To remember that over the next six weeks we will hear how the promises of old have been fulfilled and we are the inheritors of the gifts of those promises. Jesus is the rightful king and part of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus lives today, his throne can never be taken. God in all humility, took on human flesh like us and became man. Christ had relatives in his own family tree who were imperfect. He was not ashamed to be related to them, he came for them and for us. Let the people in Christ’s family tree remind us that no matter how imperfect we imagine we are, Christ is not ashamed of us. Christ came for us and continues to be here for us. We are the ones who choose to distance ourselves from Him. If you have not gone to Mass in a while, come back and experience this glorious season. Bring it into your home. Christ does not care who you are, he has seen worse, he came for you.

Theresa Simon