Wednesday, December 19, 2007

B16: I'm Dreaming of a Full Christmas

...that's full as in "not empty." Spiritually.

From today's General Audience:
“If we do not recognise that God became man, what sense is there in celebrating Christmas[?]” it becomes “empty”.

Benedict XVI once again invited the faithful to live the true meaning of Christmas today, the “gift” of God-with-us who came to bring peace and justice to the world.

“This faith and its great hope seem far removed from the reality of every day life, public and private, in a world that is increasingly chaotic and violent: we see it every day, if the light of truth goes out, then life becomes dark and without direction”.

“As we draw near to Christmas – said the Pope – the Churches’ prayer grows more intense, so that the hope of peace, of salvation, of justice is realised. A hope that the world still urgently needs today”. In fact Christmas, on the one hand “gives us the wonder of the birth in a grotto” on the other it “exhorts us to hold vigil and pray to our Redeemer who will return at the end of time to judge us”. “We believers too wait for justice to be done”, but waiting for justice in the Christian sense means above all “that we begin to live beneath the eyes of the Judge”. By realising justice in our lifetime, “we can open the world to its coming, ready the world for the Saviour who comes and who never tires of meeting us in our daily lives”. Humanity, “aims for justice” and “often unconsciously waits for the salvation which only God can bring”, it “awaits God”.

“We ask God – he continues - that violence is defeated by the power of love, that opposition gives way to reconciliation, the will to dominate becomes desire to forgive to bring justice and peace”. And the “greetings of goodness and love which we exchange in this season spread to all areas of our daily lives. That peace is in our hearts so that they can open to the grace and action of God”, “that peace reside in families, so that they may spend Christmas united around the Christmas tree and crib decorated by lights” and that “the message of solidarity and welcome that comes from Christmas helps to create new forms of charity towards the elderly and the poor”.

“[That] all members of the family community, above all children, the old and the weakest may feel the warmth of this feast which is prolonged for all the days of the year”.

May Christmas, he concluded, “be for all a feast of peace and of joy, joy for the birth of the Saviour, prince of peace” and “just as the shepherds we hurry towards Bethlehem, in the depths of the holy night, so that we too can contemplate this baby wrapped in swaddling and laid in a manger together with Mary and Joseph. We ask the Lord to open our souls so that we can enter the mystery of Christmas”.
PHOTO: Reuters/Dario Pignatelli