The Beauty of the Living Christmas Tree
What are the hidden secrets of the living Christmas tree? We can see this symbol of the tree repeated in many places in both art and within our modern culture, but this is a very ancient symbol.
The Christmas tree as we know it today started as a tradition in 16th Century Europe. Today, the Christmas tree is an accepted symbol for this holy time of year. Within the Christian tradition the tree has now become universally adopted, but what is the deep significance to the elements behind this tradition?
We can see how the image of the ‘Tree of Life’ has become a popular symbol in modern jewellery and art. It originated from the Celts and is an image of strength, wisdom and balance. The depiction of a tree as a metaphor for life is one that occurs innumerable times within many cultures, ancient civilizations, mythology, and various faith traditions. The symbol of the ‘Tree of Life’ can represent the family of humanity each leaf representing a soul of the Earth living together; just as there are a variety of religions in the world, yet each ‘branch’ emanates from the same Seed; God, because the Divine Soul is the Seed of the human world tree. There is an eternal flow in Nature, but which comes first, the seed or the tree?
Firstly, the tree is wonderfully decorated with beautiful ornaments of all kinds, each one representing a spiritual virtue or good quality. The real glory of a human being is not in the adornment of the body, but the inner beauty of our honesty, our love, kindness and purity… in short, all the gifts that came from the Creator, and which we are encouraged to share with our world family.
Secondly, what brings the whole tree to life? Surely it is the beauty and sparkle of the lights that attract us to the tree. Before the advent of electric lights, people used candles. Each candle is a small symbol of light representing each one of us, as we each sparkle on our branch of the tree of humanity.
We all have a physical form, a body, but we cannot reach our full potential and shine our light to the world until the soul is ignited and sustained by the Eternal Flame of Truth. Today’s trend is for lights that flicker and flash, but our aim should be to remain stable and constantly awake to the greater truth, especially in this dark time of the world. How alive and bright is your inner light? Does your light remain constantly lit?
An evergreen tree is generally used at Christmas, and this reminds us that life is not just the here and now, but it is eternal. The seed of any tree is hidden away, it does its work silently, unseen, and yet from it springs the whole miraculous creation with its beauty and diversity all with different functions; the roots, branches, twigs, leaves and ultimately the fruit. Again, the seed is a symbolic reminder of the One Almighty who is the Creator of all. Each one of us is a perfect leaf on the branches of this creation.
Once the seed is sown, and creation has begun, the seed remains unseen until the tree has reached maturity, has borne its fruit, and is ready to go back to the Earth. Likewise, the Supreme Seed, the Supreme One, will also reveal Himself at the time of maturity of this tree of Humanity, when it is time for us all to go back home.
And at the top of the tree we often find a star, again a reminder of the One Eternal Light that stands over all creation. This is the One that we shall ultimately all return home to. It also represents the sign of the nativity, of new life, new hope, and a new beginning when the ‘Light of the World’ brings newness… when the light returns to our world and the darkness is dispelled.
The images of angels abound at Christmas too, representing the embodiment of a pure form with the highest virtues, to become an angel is something that we too can aspire to become. Angels are always seen as light beings, with the halo and being up above, sometimes they are seen to be flying. An angel’s feet should never touch the ‘mud’ of the Earth, they are eternally conscious of who they are, spirits, they are not of this world. So too, we should remember our divine nature, and not simply be engrossed in all things of the physical world.
Angels are shown as neither male nor female, but an embodiment of all masculine and feminine qualities, such as courage, power and steadfastness, and benevolence, love, loyalty and grace. There is that wonderful quote by Oscar Wilde something along the lines that: there is a ‘saint in every sinner and a sinner in every saint’. All beauty and mastery lies within us, we simply have to emerge it.
Whether one is a Christian or not, we can all appreciate the joy and good-will that abounds at this time of year. The Supreme One comes in the dark night of our unconscious forgetting, He comes like Santa laden with gifts for all of peace, love and happiness. Santa is not only an annual reminder of the generosity of the Supreme, where God embraces all the children of the world, but that at a time of darkness the Eternal Light is always there at the time of renewal. Christmas is a time for remembering that eternal connection that we have with our Spiritual Father Christmas.
Once we recognize the true gifts that we have been given then we can learn how to use them to realize our full potential. Let’s make sure that we are constantly decorated with virtues, and that the light of awareness remains constantly lit within us. Remember that you are as evergreen as the Christmas Tree, then it will become easy to spread joy, peace and goodwill to all mankind!
While the Christmas carols are sung to herald in the silent holy night, let us awaken, let the light re-enter our consciousness, let us see that a new age is not far off as the dawn draws near. After the night surely comes the day and so this is the time for us to deepen our spiritual awareness.
It’s Time… to re-awaken and shine our light in the world. Every soul has the capacity to shine brightly as we are all part of the beauty of the tree of humanity. Christmas is simply a time for us to remember our eternal connectedness.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK