He observed that it is hard to break the bonds of sin. He cited "inconstancy, discouragement, malice, unwholesome environments," and "bad examples" as obstacles to our freedom.
"At times the yearning we feel toward the Lord is too weak and it almost seems that God is silent; his promises of consolation seem far away and unreal to us," he noted.
He continued: "And so one is tempted to say that it is impossible to truly convert. How often we have heard this discouragement! 'No, I can't do it. I barely start and then I turn back.' And this is bad. But it is possible. It is possible."
He concluded: "May Mary Most Holy, whom we will celebrate the day after tomorrow as the Immaculate, help us to separate ourselves more and more from sin and worldliness, in order to open ourselves to God, to His Word, to his love which restores and saves."
After reciting the Angelus, the pope praised pilgrims for joining him in St. Peter's Square despite the driving rain.
"As you can see, the Christmas tree has been erected in the square and the nativity scene is being set up," he said, referring to a tree donated to the Vatican by the city of Kočevje in southeast Slovenia. The tree, a Norway spruce that is almost 92 feet tall, will be lit up on Dec. 11.
The pope said: "These days even in many homes these two Christmas signs are prepared, for the joy of children … and even adults! They are signs of hope, especially in this difficult time."
He added: "Let us not stop at the sign, but go to the meaning, that is, to Jesus, to the love of God that he has revealed to us, to go to the infinite goodness that he has made shine on the world."
"There is no pandemic, there is no crisis, that can extinguish this light. Let us allow it to enter our heart, and let us lend a hand to those who need it most. In this way God will be born anew in us and among us."