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The Nativity scene and Christmas tree decorate St Peter’s Square (CNS/Paul Haring)

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. Source: CNS.

“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.”

On Saturday, Pope Francis met with the artisans who carved the 18-piece Nativity scene in St Peter’s Square; the donors of the white pine Christmas tree; the residents of a psychiatric rehabilitation centre who, along with a group of students and grandparents, created the ornaments; and with representatives of the government of Guatemala, which set up another Nativity scene in the Vatican audience hall.

“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 told them during a midday gathering.

He encouraged 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 splendour of appearances, but in the poverty of a stable.”


Keep the creche in Christmas, Pope urges (By Cindy Wooden, CNS)