The Vatican kicked off the Christmas season Monday with a 82-foot tree in St. Peter's Square.
Roman Catholic Church officials say the tree signifies the joy of the Nativity. The tree tradition was started by Pope John Paul II.
"The Christmas tree is a symbol of eternal life for Christians. It's green, and when the lights that are on it reminds us of Christ bringing light into the darkness of the world," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia explained.
"So, as we prepare for Christmas we put up our trees, but it is also important we put up our hearts with reception of Christ again in a more serious and intense way," he added.
The tree, donated by the Ukraine, will be lit be lit during a ceremony on Dec. 16.