Pope Francis says "Let's not have a fake Christmas, please, a commercial Christmas! Let us allow ourselves to be enveloped by the closeness of God..." FULL TEXT + Video
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE DELEGATIONS THAT DONATE THE CHRISTMAS TREE
AND THE CRIB IN PIAZZA SAN PIETRO AND IN THE PAUL VI AULA
Paul VI Audience Hall
Friday, 10 December 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I welcome you on the day the tree and the crib set up in St. Peter's Square are inaugurated, as well as the crib placed in this room.
I cordially address my greetings to the Peruvian Delegation of Huancavelica, the department in which the village of Chopcca is located, from which the large nativity scene in the square comes from. I thank the Bishop, Mgr. Carlos Salcedo Ojeda for his words; and I extend my gratitude to the civil and ecclesial Authorities, in particular to the Foreign Minister of Peru, and to all those who collaborated. The characters of the nativity scene, built with materials and clothes characteristic of those territories, represent the peoples of the Andes and symbolize the universal call to salvation.
Indeed, Jesus came to earth in the concreteness of a people to save every man and woman, of all cultures and nationalities. He made himself small so that we can welcome him and receive the gift of God's tenderness.
Next to the nativity scene, there is the majestic spruce from the forests of Andalo, in Trentino. I greet the Delegation that comes from there: the Authorities, the priests, the faithful accompanied by Archbishop Lauro Tisi, whom I thank for his words. Tonight, at the end of the official handover ceremony, the lights that adorn the tree will be turned on. It will remain next to the Nativity scene until the end of the Christmas holidays and will be admired by pilgrims from many places. The fir is a sign of Christ, the tree of life (cf. Rev 2: 7), a tree that man could not access because of sin (cf. Gen2.9). But with Christmas, divine life joined that of man. The Christmas tree, then, evokes rebirth, the gift of God that is united with man forever, who gives us his life. The fir tree lights recall that of Jesus, the light of love that continues to shine in the nights of the world.
Dear friends, this is Christmas, let's not let it be polluted by consumerism and indifference. Its symbols, especially the nativity scene and the decorated tree, bring us back to the certainty that fills our hearts with peace, to the joy of the Incarnation, to God who becomes familiar: he lives with us, rhythm of hope in our days. The tree and the crib introduce us to that typical atmosphere of Christmas which is part of the heritage of our communities: an atmosphere rich in tenderness, sharing and family intimacy. Let's not have a fake Christmas, please, a commercial Christmas! Let us allow ourselves to be enveloped by the closeness of God, this closeness which is compassionate, which is tender; envelop in the Christmas atmosphere that art, music, songs and traditions bring to the heart.
Those who will go here, in the Paul VI Hall, in the next few days will be able to enjoy this atmosphere also thanks to the crib that will now be inaugurated. It was built by young people from the parish of San Bartolomeo a Gallio, in the diocese of Padua, present here with Bishop Claudio Cipolla, whom I thank for what he said. I am grateful to you for this gift, the fruit of commitment and reflection on Christmas, the feast of trust and hope. The reason for the hope is that God is with us, trusts us and never gets tired of us! And he never tires of forgiving: we are the ones who tire of asking for forgiveness. He comes to live with men, he chooses the earth as his home to stay with us and take on the realities where we spend our days. This is what the nativity scene teaches us. At Christmas, God reveals himself not as someone who is on high to dominate, but as the One who humbles himself, small and poor, a companion on the road, to serve: this means that to resemble him the way is that of lowering himself, of service. . For it to be truly Christmas, let us not forget this: God comes to be with us and asks us to take care of our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest, the weakest, the most fragile, whom the pandemic risks marginalizing even more. So Jesus came, and the crib reminds us of this. God comes to stay with us and asks us to take care of our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest, the weakest, the most fragile, whom the pandemic risks marginalizing even more. So Jesus came, and the crib reminds us of this. God comes to stay with us and asks us to take care of our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest, the weakest, the most fragile, whom the pandemic risks marginalizing even more. So Jesus came, and the crib reminds us of this.
May Our Lady and Saint Joseph help us to live Christmas like this. I renew my gratitude to all of you, your countries and your families. God bless you. Please don't forget to pray for me. Thank you!
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot - Translation from Italian