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Pope Francis exhorts to rediscover true richness of Christmas

Pope Francis (Photo credit to Vatican Media)

Pope Francis exhorted everyone to rediscover the true richness of Christmas in the address to the delegations who gifted two nativity scenes and a Christmas tree on December 3.

The pope said, “In its genuine poverty, the nativity scene helps us to rediscover the true richness of Christmas. Simple and familiar, the nativity scene recalls a different Christmas from the consumerist and commercial one.”

He blessed the nativity scene made by more than 30 craftsmen in the Latin American country, Guatemala. It portrays the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph with large golden crowns and the Holy Infant Jesus in a manger surrounded by angels.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mario Búcaro of Guatemala led a delegation to participate in the inauguration of the nativity scene at Paul VI Hall on December 3.

“It is the first time in history that our country presents a nativity scene in the Vatican, a beautiful work of sacred art, personally delivered to Pope Francis and, therefore, also a gift from the people of Guatemala in anticipation of Christmas,” Búcaro said.

The Pope commented on the significance of the nativity scene, which “speaks to us of the birth of the Son of God who became Man to be close to each one of us.”

It helps us “to become intimate with God, with the fragile simplicity of a small newborn, with the meekness of his being laid down, with the tender affection of the swaddling clothes that surround him,” Pope Francis said.

The Pope encouraged all to silence, prayer, and contemplation of the Infant Jesus in a nativity scene amid the days overwhelmed by frenzy.

“And if we really want to celebrate Christmas, let us rediscover through the nativity scene the surprise and wonder of littleness, the littleness of God, who made himself small, who was not born in the splendor of appearance, but in the poverty of a stable,” Pope Francis said.

The Guatemalan crib will be displayed in Paul VI Hall until January 8, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Outdoor wooden carved Nativity Scene and Christmas tree at St. Peter's Square (Screenshot and cropped from EWTN Video)

In St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican displayed an outdoor wooden crib carved from alpine cedar trees from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the northeastern region of Italy.

The wooden carved crib included a wooden grotto with Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus, an angel, tradesmen, tradeswomen, a shepherdess, a family, children, an ox, and a donkey,

The Pope reflected on the Christmas tree with its light as a reminder of Jesus, who came to illuminate our darkness, our existence often locked up in the shadow of sin, fear, and pain.  

Like trees, we need the roots of a ‘solid foundation’ so that we may remain firm, grow and resist the winds of life.

The Pope stressed the importance of cherishing the roots in life as in faith.

The traditional Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony took place in the Paul VI Hall due to heavy rain and thunderstorms and was presided over by Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga.

The Christmas tree is about 100 feet tall and donated by a mountain village, Rosello, in the central region of Abruzzo. - With inputs from Vatican News and Catholic News Agency


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.