VATICAN CITY, DEC. 14, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Pope Benedict XVI received in audience a delegation from the Italian region of Molise, which this year has donated the fir tree raised next to the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square. The lighting ceremony will take place later on today.
The Pope thanked the delegation for the silver fir – which was accompanied by eight other smaller trees destined for the Apostolic Palace and various other locations around the Vatican.
The Holy Father said that event of God becoming man was to “dispel the shadows of sin, bringing His divine light to humanity.”
“This highest of lights, symbolized and recalled by the Christmas tree, has not only shown no sign of dimming through the passing of the centuries and the millennia, but rather continues to shine upon us and to illuminate every person who comes into the world, especially in moments of uncertainty and difficulty.”
Recalling the words of Christ, who proclaimed, “I am the light of the world”, Pope Benedict said that there have been many attempts to “extinguish the light of God.”
These attempts, the Pope continued, are meant “to replace it with the glare of illusion and deceit” and “have heralded episodes of tragic violence against mankind.”
“This is because the attempt to cancel the name of God from the pages of history results in distortion, in which even the most beautiful and noble words lose their true meaning.”
Concluding his address, the Holy Father thanked the delegation for the Christmas tree, which he regarded as a “tree of the Year of Faith”, and imparted his Apostolic blessing.