The use of a decorated tree as part of Christmas is relatively modern. Its origins are found in the medieval mystery plays which depicted the tree of paradise and the Christmas light of candle which symbolized Christ, the light of the world.
According to custom, the Christmas tree is set up just before Christmas and may remain in place until the solemnity of the Epiphany. The lights of the tree are lit after the prayer of blessing.
The following prayer of blessing may be used by any member of the family. Before saying the prayer of blessing you might like to read some appropriate verses from Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke
Lord our God,
we praise you
for the light of creation:
the sun, the moon, and for
the stars of the night.
We praise you for the light of Israel:
the Law, the prophets,
and the wisdom of the Scriptures.
We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son:
he is Emmanuel, God-with-us,
the Prince of Peace,
who fills us with the wonder of your love.
let your blessing come upon us
as we illumine this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives
be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts.
May all who delight in this tree
come to the knowledge and joy of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Photograph of Christmas Tree lights, Berlin. (c) 2004, Allen Morris