~ by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) Stopping to gaze at and perhaps pray before a Nativity scene is one of the best ways to remember the real meaning of Christmas, Pope Francis said.
“In its genuine poverty,” the pope said, “the creche helps us to rediscover the true richness of Christmas and to purify ourselves of so many aspects that pollute the Christmas landscape.”
“Simple and familiar, the Nativity scene recalls a Christmas that is different from the consumerist and commercial Christmas. It is something else. It reminds us how good it is for us to cherish moments of silence and prayer in our days, often overwhelmed by frenzy.”
Pope Francis encourages everyone to find some quiet time to spend before a creche at Christmas.
“Silence encourages contemplation of the child Jesus,” the Pope said, and “helps us to become intimate with God, with the fragile simplicity of a tiny newborn baby, with the meekness of his being laid down, with the tender affection of the swaddling clothes that envelop him.”
If we really want to celebrate Christmas,” he said, “let us rediscover through the crib the surprise and amazement of littleness, the littleness of God, who makes himself small, who is not born in the splendor of appearances, but in the poverty of a stable.”
The lights on the Christmas tree, he said, are a reminder that Jesus came “to lighten our darkness, our existence often enclosed in the shadow of sin, fear and pain.”
The Christmas tree, Pope Francis said, is a reminder of the need to remain rooted in Christ