Christmas offers lesson in humility, says Pope

Joy tempered by humility

Pope Francis yesterday described Christmas as an occasion of joy but also a lesson in humility, when the faithful are called to imitate the example of God-made-man. He was speaking during his weekly public audience in St Peter's Square, reports the Catholic News Service.

'God abases himself, descends to earth as someone small and poor, which means that to be like him we should not put ourselves above others, but on the contrary, abase ourselves, give ourselves in service, make ourselves small with the small and poor with the poor,' he said.

'It is an ugly thing when one sees a Christian who will not abase himself, who will not serve, a Christian who struts about vainly everywhere,' Pope Francis added. 'That is not Christian, that is pagan.'

A Christian is obliged to serve, the Pope said, because the incarnation means God is to be found in every person. 'If God, through Jesus, involved himself with man to the point of becoming one of us, that means whatever we have done to a brother or sister we have done' to God, he said.

'The birth of Jesus is the evidence that God has taken man's side once and for all, to save us, to raise us up from the dust of our miseries, our difficulties, our sins,' Pope Francis said.

Clad in a white overcoat and scarf in frigid but sunny weather, the Pope led the crowd in twice calling out: 'Jesus is God-with-us.' He noted the 'surprising' fact that God did not chose to become man 'in an ideal, idyllic world, but in this real world, marked by so many good and evil things, marked by divisions, wickedness, poverty, arrogance and war.'

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