Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 30 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Solanus Casey
home iconChurch
line break icon

Exclusive Photos: The unveiling of the Vatican Nativity scene

VATICAN CHRISTMAS

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | I.Media

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 12/07/18

The sand, a poor material, recalls the simplicity, the smallness, and also the fragility with which God showed Himself with the birth of Jesus in precariousness in Bethlehem.

The 75-foot (23-meter) Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square was lit this evening and the sand-sculpture Nativity scene unveiled.

More than 700 tons of sand went into the life-size sculpture.

See slideshow below

Read below excerpts from the Holy Father’s reflection on the Nativity and the Tree:

The tree and the nativity display are two signs that never cease to appeal to us; they tell us about Christmas and help us to contemplate the mystery of God made man to be close to each one of us. The Christmas tree with its lights reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world, the light of the soul that drives away the darkness of enmities and makes room for forgiveness. The spruce that this year is placed in Piazza San Pietro, coming from the Cansiglio forest, suggests further reflection. With its height of over twenty meters, it symbolizes God Who with the birth of His Son Jesus lowered himself down to man, to raise man to Himself and lift him from the fogs of selfishness and sin. The Son of God assumes the human condition to draw it to Himself and to make it participate in his divine and incorruptible nature. The nativity scene, located in the centre of the Square, is made with sand from Jesola, originally from the Dolomites. The sand, a poor material, recalls the simplicity, the smallness, and also the fragility- as the Patriarch said – with which God showed Himself with the birth of Jesus in precariousness in Bethlehem. It may seem that this smallness contradicts divinity, so much so that some, from the very beginning, considered it only as appearance, a façade. But no, because smallness is freedom. Those who are small – in the evangelical sense – are not only light, but also free from any desire to appear and from any claim to success; like children who express themselves and move spontaneously. We are all called to be free before God, to have the freedom of a child before his father. The Child Jesus, Son of God and our Saviour, whom we place in the manger, is Holy in poverty, smallness, simplicity and humility. The Nativity and the tree, enchanting symbols of Christmas, can bring to families and meeting places a reflection of the light and tenderness of God, to help everyone to live the feast of the birth of Jesus. Contemplating the Child God Who emanates light in the humility of the nativity scene, we can also become witnesses of humility, tenderness and goodness.  

Tags:
ChristmasPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
2
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
3
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
4
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
5
PRINCESS DIANA AND MOTHER TERESA
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
6
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
7
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.