12/21/2005, 00.00
VATICAN
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The lights of Christmas, a reminder of the true Light

Benedict XVI urges parents to pass on to the next generation the true meaning of the festivity even though in our modern, consumer-oriented culture Christian symbols have tended to disappear from Christmas celebrations.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A thousand lights flickering at Christmas in the streets and the stores of our cities should remind us "of another light, invisible to the eye but not the heart," that of the birth of the Child.

"Although in our modern, consumer-oriented culture Christian symbols have tended to disappear from Christmas celebrations, let everyone hold fast to the meaning of Christmas traditions, legacy our faith and culture, and pass them on to the next generation."

Regardless of the sounds and lights of consumerism, Benedict XVI put the true meaning of Christmas at the heart of his speech to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square on the last general audience before Christmas.

Wearing a camauro—a white fur-trimmed red bonnet worn by popes during the Renaissance, last worn by John XXIII—to ward off the biting cold of this Rome morning, the Pope insisted on the meaning of "light" in the mystery of Christmas.

"In our hemisphere, Christmas Day comes when the Sun ends its descending cycle, when the amount of daily light increases following the recurring pattern of the seasons," the Pontiff said. "This can best help understand how light can overcome darkness. It is the symbol that evokes a reality that deeply touches man. I am referring here to the light of Good that overcomes Evil, of Love that prevails over Hatred, of Life that conquers Death."

"Christmas reminds us of this inner, divine light which announces again the final victory of the love of God over sin and death. For this reason, in the current Novena of Holy Christmas, there are many, significant references to light".

"The Saviour people were waiting for is greeted as the 'Rising Star', the one that points the way, the one that leads men away from wondering in darkness and in the dangers of the world towards the Salvation God promised and Jesus Christ fulfilled," the Pope said.

"Let us get ready to joyfully celebrate the Saviour's birth in our families and ecclesial communities. Although in our modern, consumer-oriented culture Christian symbols have tended to disappear from Christmas celebrations, let everyone hold fast to the meaning of Christmas traditions, legacy our faith and culture, and pass them on to the next generation."

"As we look at our streets and squares decorated with flashing lights, let us remember another light, invisible to the eye but not the heart."

"As we admire them, as we light candles in the churches, as we turn on the lights of the crèche or the Christmas tree in our houses, let our souls open to the true spiritual light brought to all men of good will." (FP)

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