St. Louis, Mo., Dec 26, 2022 / 08:00 am
The Catholic celebration of Christmas is about God’s entry into our sinful world — a theological truth that is sometimes symbolized, in various forms of art, by the blooming of a flower into a snowy winter. The hauntingly beautiful Christmas hymn “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” captures this theological reality beautifully.
But what if, instead of a rose, it was a thorn?
The English town of Glastonbury, an ancient settlement primarily known today for its raucous annual music festival and also for its connections to paganism, is also home to a special tree — a hawthorn that blooms every Christmas and again in May.
This is notable since most hawthorns bloom only once a year and, generally, not in winter. Recognized for centuries as a Christian symbol, it’s known as the Holy Thorn.