12/24/2006, 00.00
VATICAN
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Pope: all feel welcome and loved in God made man; none are left out

A few hours before Christmas night, Benedict XVI has asked all men to discover the value of their life thanks to the gift of life of God who made himself man for us. And there was a caution not to forget Jesus himself, “the protagonist” of this feast.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – As Christmas draws near, the pope has called upon all Christians to rediscover the richness of the mystery that will be celebrated tonight and not to marginalize and forget Him, “the protagonist” of the feast that we are about to hold.

 

Speaking during the Angelus prayer to pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI outlined diverse aspects about Christmas of the Christian faith. “Our salvation is made manifest in the divine newborn who we will set down on the crib. In God who becomes man for us, we all feel loved and welcome; we discover that we are precious and unique in the eyes of the Creator. The Christmas of Christ helps us to become aware of the value of human life, the life of each and every human being, from his first moment to his natural sunset. To those who open their hearts to this ‘child wrapped in swaddling clothes’ and lying ‘in a manger’ (cfr Lk 2:12), he offers the opportunity of looking at daily reality with new eyes. He may taste the power of the inner captivation of God’s love, which succeeds in turning even sorrow into joy.”

 

The feast of Christmas is also at the root of brotherhood among mankind. The pope said: “Let us prepare ourselves to meet Jesus, the Emmanuel, God with us. Born in the poverty of Bethlehem, He wants to be the travelling companion of each one of us. In this world, since He Himself desired to put his ‘tent’, no one is a foreigner. It is true, we are but passing through, but it is precisely Jesus who makes us feel at home on this earth sanctified by his presence. However, he asks us to turn it into a place that welcomes everyone. The amazing gift of Christmas is just this: Jesus came for each one of us and he made us all brothers in him. Our corresponding commitment should be to overcome our preconceptions and prejudices more and more, to knock down the barriers and eliminate the contradictions that divide us, or worse, that pit individuals and peoples against each other, so that we may build a world of justice and peace together.”

 

The concern of Benedict XVI is that one should prepare for Christmas with a change of heart, “preparing spiritually to welcome the Child Jesus.” And just as if he was correcting the consumeristic emphasis that surrounds this feast: “He will come for us in the heart of night. However it is his desire to come in us too, that is, to live in the heart of each one of us. For this to come about, it is indispensable that we are available and that we get ready to receive him, ready to make space within ourselves, in our families, in our cities, May his birth not find us taken up with celebrating Christmas and forgetting that He is the protagonist of the feast! May Mary help us to keep the state of inner meditation that is necessary to savour the deep joy that the birth of the Redeemer brings. It is to her that we turn now with our prayer, thinking especially about those who are getting ready to spend Christmas in sadness and in solitude, in sickness and in suffering: may the Virgin bring comfort and consolation to all.”

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