VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God did not come to the world with arrogance to impose his might; he offered his powerful love through a fragile child, Pope Francis said.
The Christmas tree and Nativity scene are reminders of this mystery of the Incarnation and they both carry “a message of light, hope and love,” he said Dec. 19, meeting the people who donated the centerpieces of the Vatican Christmas decorations.
The Italian city of Verona donated the Nativity scene, and the southern Italian city of Catanzaro donated the 82-foot white spruce tree, which both adorn St. Peter’s Square. The tree was lit and the scene officially unveiled during an early evening ceremony in the square Dec. 19.
Earlier in the day, the pope thanked the delegates for their generosity and highlighted the importance of the Christmas creche and tree for Christians, as they are a sign of how “God made man to save us and the light that Jesus brought to the world with his birth.”
But the Nativity scene and Christmas tree touch the hearts of everyone, “even those who do not believe because they speak of fraternity, intimacy and friendship, calling all people of our time to rediscover the beauty of simplicity, sharing and solidarity,” he said.
“They are an invitation to unity, harmony and peace; an invitation to make room — in our personal and social life — for God, who did not come with arrogance to impose his might, but offers us his omnipotent love through the fragile person of a child,” he said.
“Let us follow him, the true light, in order to not lose our way and to reflect, in turn, light and warmth upon those who are going through difficult and dark times,” he said.
A choir from Serrastretta near Catanzaro and the band of the Vatican gendarme corps were to provide traditional Christmas music, both sacred and popular, during the lighting ceremony.
After the Christmas lighting, Vatican officials were scheduled to flip the switch for the new 315-bulb LED lighting on the facade and dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican said the new bulbs should save about 70 percent on the basilica’s lighting bill. A similar system, also set for its first illumination Dec. 19, was installed at Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103