The nativity scene reminds us that God came from heaven to stay with us, that “our world, which at Christmas became His world, is important to Him.”
Pope Francis said this today when he received in audience some 700 people from the Bavarian municipalities of Hirschau, Schanaittenbach and Freudenberg, who donated the Christmas tree adorning St. Peter’s Square this year, and representatives from the Italian province of Trento who, along with the archdiocese, created the Nativity display. The decorations on the tree are from the Lene Thun Foundation of Bolzano and, as the Holy Father commented, represent the dreams of the children who decorated it, whom he thanked.
“These wishes that we carry in our heart are now in the most suitable place, because they are close to the child of Bethlehem: they are entrusted to Him, He Who came to live in our midst. Indeed, Jesus did not simply appear on earth, and did not dedicate just a little of His time to us, but rather came to share our life and to receive our desires, as He wanted and still wants to live here, along with us and for us. Our world, which at Christmas became His world, is important to Him. The creche reminds us of this: God, in his great mercy, descended to us to stay with us”.
The Nativity also tells us that the Lord “never imposes upon us with force. To save us, He did not change history by performing a grand miracle. Instead, He lived with simplicity, humility and meekness. God does not like the dramatic revolutions of the powerful of history, and does not use a magic wand to change situations. Instead He makes Himself small, He becomes a child, to attract us with love, to touch our hearts with His humble goodness, to draw attention through His poverty to those who worry about accumulating the false treasures of this world”.
The Holy Father recalled that this was the intention of St. Francis when he invented the creche – to pay homage to the Child who was born in Bethlehem so as to be able to in some way perceive with the eyes of the body the hardships He suffered for the lack of the basic necessities for a newborn. Indeed, the scene honours and praises simplicity, poverty and humility. “I invite you, then, to pause before the Nativity scene, for there God’s tenderness speaks to us. There we contemplate divine mercy, made flesh so that we gaze tenderly upon it. Above all, it wishes to move our hearts”.
In this regard, Francis indicated that in the creche there is a figure who reveals the mystery of the Nativity. “It is a character who performs a good act, stooping to assist an elderly person. He not only looks to God but also imitates Him, as, like God, he inclines mercifully to one in need. May these gifts of yours, which will be lit up this evening, attract the gaze of many and above all revive in our life the true light of Christmas.”