Pope Benedict XVI led the Angelus from the window of his Vatican chambers on this crisp, clear winter morning of the fourth Sunday of Advent in Rome. In his pre-Angelus address to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, he echoed the words of the prophet Micah in Sunday´s liturgy, inviting the world to look to Bethlehem for peace.
The Holy Father began his address by quoting Micah's prophesy from 1,000 years before Christ's birth, 'But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.'
"So, there is a divine design that knows and explains the times and places of the coming of the Son of God into the world," said Benedict XVI of the prophesy.
"It's a design of peace ..." one that comes with the arrival of the Lord on Earth, he said.
"He himself will be the peace," adds Micah in his prophesy.
Benedict XVI said that Bethlehem is thus is a "city-symbol" of messianic peace, although, he lamented, "Unfortunately, in our days, that doesn't represent an achieved and stable peace, but one tiringly sought after and hoped for."
God doesn't give up, though, he continued, and so this year, as in all years, "he will renew in the Church the mystery of Christmas, prophesy of peace for every man and woman."
The Pontiff highlighted the power and timelessness of the message, saying, "Today, as in the time of Jesus, Christmas isn't a fable for children, but the answer from God to the drama of humanity in search of true peace."
"Even if we don't understand it fully, we trust ourselves to his wisdom and kindness. We seek, before all, the Kingdom of God, and Divine Providence will aid us."
Pope Benedict concluded with a "Merry Christmas to all!" that echoed through the pillars of the Square and was met with cheers from the crowd.