Christmas trees and nativity scenes are “signs of the heavenly Father’s compassion,” said Pope Francis today, while receiving in audience the donors of the Christmas decorations for St. Peter’s Square just before the official inauguration and lighting of the tree.
With their symbolic language, these decorations reveal the mystery of Christ’s birth, the pontiff said.
The Christmas tree, explained Peter’s Successor, invites us to reach upwards “towards the higher gifts.” It shows how “beautiful and joyful it is to be immersed in the light of Christ.” The simplicity of the manger, for its part, shows us the “tenderness of God” who becomes man.
To the young patients who made the decorations for the tree, the pope explained that Jesus “became a child like you to tell you that He loves you.”
These children are young Italians who are in the hospital, some of them due to the earthquakes of 2016, or otherwise affected by them.
As for the tree itself, it comes from Poland. The pope expressed his gratitude to the faithful of the Diocese of Elk, who offered the tree in “fidelity to the Chair of Peter.”
This Christmas tree and the crèche will stay lit up until the night of January 7, the day of the Baptism of the Lord.