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There is a trend to distort Christmas, marginalizing the faith, due to a “false respect,” said Pope Francis today at the general audience. In fact, “without Jesus, there is no Christmas.”
The crowd in Paul VI Hall responded with loud applause to the pope’s assertion.
Local traditions, typical meals and songs help to create the festive atmosphere, the Successor of Peter remarked, but if Christ is removed from these celebrations, “the light goes out and everything seems wrong.”
Often, lamented the pontiff, mankind prefers to stay in the dark and cling to bad habits. The Church, said the Bishop of Rome, helps move us toward the “true light” of Christ.
Indeed, said the pontiff, Jesus Christ is the “true gift” of Christmas. He brings new life based on love and not on selfishness.
Following Christ, urged the pontiff, we must also become “a gift for others.”
The Incarnation, “certain proof” of God’s love
Welcoming various language groups, the head of the Catholic Church said that the love of God “is not limited to sending prophets, messengers or texts.” This love pushes God to “embrace” the weakness of the human condition, to restore its lost dignity. The Incarnation is the “certain proof” of God’s love, insisted the pope. He encouraged the pilgrims to prepare their hearts as a manger where Christ was born in Bethlehem.
At the end of the general audience, the artists of the Italian Golden Circus, including contortionists and acrobats, performed a few numbers before the pontiff and the crowd. The Bishop of Rome seemed to enjoy the show. “With your art, you approach God’s people,” said he told them.