12/21/2011, 00.00
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Pope: Live Christmas in its true sacred and Christian sense

General Audience dedicated approach of the Incarnation. The external aspects, while beautiful and important, must not absorb the meaning of a festival that celebrates "the mystery that has marked and continues to mark the history of man, God became man and dwelt among us". And still does so today. In these days we must not forget the needy.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Christmas greetings, which are exchanged in these days, "must not loose their religious significance in today's society and the celebration must not be absorbed by external aspects that touch the heartstrings. Certainly, the external symbols are beautiful and important, provided they do not divert our attention, but rather help us to experience Christmas in its truest sense, which is sacred and Christian, so that our joy is not superficial but profound”. "In these holy days Christian charity must be particularly active to the most needy" because "there can be no delays for the poor."

A General Audience dedicated to Christmas, at the Vatican today, with the sound of bagpipes permeating the air. Speaking to the eight thousand people present in the Paul VI hall Benedict XVI said the feast day "is not just an anniversary, although it is this too", but is first and foremost a "celebration of the mystery that has marked and continues to mark the history of man, God became man and dwelt among us".

The Incarnation is "a mystery that we live in liturgical celebrations" that answers the question: "how can I participate today in a birth that occurred more than 2000 years ago." In all the Christmas celebrations we sing "Today is born our Savior." This “Today” evokes an eternal present, for the mystery of Christ’s coming transcends time and permeates all history. “Today” – every day - we are invited to discover the presence of God’s saving love in our midst".

For believers, Christmas " renews the certainty that God is present today, though he is with the Father, he is also near us and we can meet that infant born in Bethlehem in a today that has no end."

"Mankind today finds it increasingly difficult to open his eyes and enter the world of God", but that event tells us that "God became man, He entered the limits of time and space to make it possible to meet him." It is event that involves" all men, when we say that today our Savior is born we mean that today, right now, God is offering us, me and everyone a chance to recognize and welcome Him as did the shepherds in Bethlehem, so our lives and hearts are transformed with his presence. "

Benedict XVI then highlighted "a second aspect": "The Incarnation and the birth of Jesus invite us already to direct our gaze toward His death and resurrection: Christmas and Easter are both celebrations of redemption. Easter celebrates it as a victory over sin and death: it marks the final moment, when the glory of the God-man shines like the light of day; Christmas celebrates it as God’s becoming man in history to bring man to God; it marks, so to speak, the starting point when we can see the light of dawn. But just as the dawn precedes and already foresees the light of day, so Christmas has already announced the cross and the glory of the Resurrection. May these two periods of the year, in which the two great celebrations are placed, at least in some areas of the world, help us to understand this aspect. In fact, Easter falls in early spring, when the sun defeats the dense fog and cold and renews the face of the earth, Christmas is right at the beginning of winter, when the light and warmth of the sun can not awaken nature, shrouded by the cold, but under whose blanket, pulses with life. "

"We live the approach of Christmas with great joy," as "an wonderful event, the Son of God is born again today. God really is close to each one of us and wants to bring us towards the true light, "we live in expectation "contemplating the immense path of love of God that has lifted us through the incarnation, death and Resurrection of the Son. "

"I hope you all celebrate a truly Christian Christmas - concluded the Pope – so that the exchange of good wishes expresses the joy of knowing that God is near."
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