The Christmas tree is a sign which recalls that divine light that dispels the darkness of sin and brings joy to humanity. With these words, Pope Francis thanked a group of Bavarian pilgrims who were in Rome for the lighting of the Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square.
The tree, which arrived last week, was donated to the Vatican by the town of Bavaria. The massive fir tree is 82 feet tall (25 meters) and weighs over 7 tons.
The Holy Father began his address by thanking the delegation for their gift which he said was an expression of their closeness to the Holy See.
With these gifts, he said, “you wished to manifest your spiritual closeness and friendship that bishops all of Germany, and in particular Bavaria, with the Holy See, in the wake of the Christian tradition that has enriched the culture, literature and art of your nation and the whole of Europe.”
Speaking on the Christmas season, the Holy Father invited them to celebrate it with serenity and to received the good news like the shepherds of Bethlehem. Those shepherds, he said, were surrounded by a great light.
“Even today Jesus continues to dispel the darkness of error and sin, to bring humanity the joy of the blazing light of God, of which the Christmas tree is a sign and reminder. Let us be wrapped by the light of His truth , because ‘the joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and the lives of all who encounter Jesus’”.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis wished the Bavarian pilgrims a Merry Christmas, while asking them for their prayers.
The Christmas Tree Light Ceremony will take place this afternoon in St. Peter’s Square. (J.A.E.)