"In our time, especially in Europe, we are witnessing a sort of" distortion "of Christmas: in the name of a false respect for those who are not Christians, who often hide the aim to marginalize the faith". Jesus is "the gift", "that's why at Christmas we exchange gifts. The true gift for us is Jesus, and like him we want to be a gift for others ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Without Jesus there is no Christmas, "it's another festivity, but it's not Christmas". Pope Francis returned to this today and dedicated his meditation to the general audience to the significance of Jesus' Christmas.
In fact, speaking to the eight thousand people present in the Paul VI hall, he said: "In our time, especially in Europe, we are witnessing a kind of 'distortion' of Christmas: in the name of a false respect for those who are not Christians, which often hides the aim to marginalize the faith, it eliminates every reference to the birth of Jesus from the festivity. But in reality this event is the only true Christmas! Without Jesus there is no Christmas. There's no Christmas, there's another celebration, but it's not Christmas. And if in the center there is Him, then also the whole outline, that is the lights, the sounds, the various local traditions, including the characteristic foods, all contribute to create the atmosphere of the celebration. But with Jesus at the center. But if we take Him away, the light goes out and everything becomes fake, superficial".
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, "the world does not notice anything, but in heaven the angels who know, exult! And this is how the Son of God presents himself to us today: as the gift of God for humanity who is immersed in the night and in the torpor of sleep (cf. Is 9,1). And even today we are witnessing the fact that humanity often prefers darkness because it knows that light would reveal all those actions and thoughts that would make our conscience blush or tarnish. So, we prefer to stay in the dark and not upset our bad habits ". "Then we can ask ourselves what it means to welcome the gift of God that is Jesus. As he himself taught us with his life, it means to become a free gift every day for those who meet on their own path. That's why at Christmas we exchange gifts. The true gift for us is Jesus, and like him we want to be a gift for others ". "He, sent by the Father was a gift for us, we exchange gifts".
"And finally, one last important aspect: in Christmas we can see how human history, that moved by the powerful of this world, is visited by the history of God. And God involves those who, confined to the margins of society, are the first recipients of his gift, that is, the salvation brought by Jesus. With the little and despised Jesus establishes a friendship that continues in time and which nourishes hope for a better future. To these people, represented by the shepherds of Bethlehem, "a great light appeared" (Lk 2: 9-12), which led them straight to Jesus. With them, at all times, God wants to build a new world, a world in which there are no more people rejected, mistreated and destitute".
"In these days - concluded the Pope - we open our minds and hearts to welcome this grace. Jesus is God's gift to us and, if we welcome him, we too can become a gift for others, first of all for those who have never experienced attention and tenderness. So many people in his life have never experienced a caress, a gesture of love. Thus Jesus is born again in the life of each one of us and, through us, continues to be a gift of salvation for the little ones and the excluded ".
"The birth of Jesus - he reiterated greeting the faithful who speak the Arabic language - is the fulfillment of the divine promises. God does not love words, His love is not limited to the sending of prophets, messengers or texts, but leads Him to embrace our weakness and our human condition to lift us to lost filial dignity. The incarnation of God is the sure proof of the authenticity of His love, who truly loves identifies with the beloved".