Francis receives at the Vatican the delegations that donated this year the Christmas tree, the nativity grotto erected in St. Peter’s Square, and the nativity site within the same room as Paul VI.
Silvone Jose – Vatican News
A little later in the afternoon, Pope Francis greeted in Paul VI’s room the delegations that this year donated the Christmas tree, the Nativity Theater erected in St. Peter’s Square, and the Nativity Theater erected inside the same Paul VI room.
Francisco then addressed his greetings to the Peruvian delegation in Huancavelica, the section where the village of Chopoca is located, where the great nativity scene erected in St. Peter’s Square comes from.
The Pope thanked Bishop Carlos Salcedo Ojeda for his words, and expressed his gratitude to the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, in particular to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, and to all those who cooperated with them.
The Pope recalls that the figures in the bed are made of materials and clothing characteristic of these lands, represent the peoples of the Andes and symbolize the universal call to salvation.
“Jesus, in fact, came to earth tangibly for a people to save all men and women, of all cultures and nationalities. He made himself small so that we might welcome him and receive the gift of God’s tenderness.”
Next to the nativity scene is the majestic spruce from the Andalo Forest in Trentino. Then Francisco welcomed the delegation that came from that place: the authorities, the priests and the faithful, accompanied by Archbishop Loro Tessie, who thanked him for his words.
On Friday afternoon, at the conclusion of the official handover ceremony, the lights that decorate the tree will be extinguished.
It will remain by the Nativity Grotto until the end of the Christmas festivities and will be admired by pilgrims from many places.
The pope said: “The fir tree is a sign of Christ, the tree of life, a tree that man did not enter because of sin. But with Christmas, divine life has joined man’s life. The Christmas tree, then, evokes rebirth, the gift of God who is united with man forever, who gives us his life. The lights of the spruce remember the light of Jesus, the light of love that continues to shine through the nights of the world.”
That it is Christmas, Francisco said, let us not let it be polluted by consumerism and indifference. Its symbols, especially the nativity scene and the ornate 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, gives a rhythm of hope to our days.
“The tree and Christmas give us the typical Christmas atmosphere that is part of the heritage of our communities: an atmosphere of tenderness, sharing and familial intimacy. Let us not live a commercial fake Christmas! Let us allow ourselves to partake of the closeness with God, in the atmosphere of Christmas that art, music, songs and tradition bring to the our hearts.”
The Pope said that all those who come to Sala Paul VI in the coming days will be able to taste this atmosphere, thanks to the cot that will be inaugurated. It was performed by young men from the parish of St. Bartholomew in Gallio, in the Diocese of Padua, who were present with Bishop Claudio Cipola, whom Francisco thanked for his words.
“I am grateful for this gift, the fruit of our commitment and reflection on Christmas, the feast of trust and hope. And the reason for our hope is that God is with us and trusts us and never tires of us! He comes to live with people, chooses the earth as his abode to be with us and assumes the truths in which we spend our days. This is what his bed teaches us “.
And the Pope concluded: “At Christmas, God reveals himself not as the one above who controls, but as the one who bows, small and poor, to serve: that is to say, the way to imitate Him is to lower yourself, to serve. For Christmas to be truly, 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, weakest and most vulnerable, who are threatened by the epidemic and marginalized the most, because this is how Jesus came into the world, and the manger reminds us of that.” “May the Lady and Saint Joseph help us to live Christmas in this way.”
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