“If the pandemic has forced us to be more distant, Jesus, in the crib, shows us the way of tenderness to be close to each other, to be human,” he said.
He said that the reality of Christ’s incarnation -- that he became one of us -- can “give us much joy and courage.”
“This gift of grace we receive through the simplicity and humanity of Christmas, can remove from our hearts and minds the pessimism, which has spread even more today due to the pandemic,” he said.
“We can overcome that sense of disquieting bewilderment, not letting ourselves be overwhelmed by defeats and failures, in the rediscovered awareness that that humble and poor Child, hidden away and helpless, is God Himself, made man for us.”
As Italy is set to enter into its second national lockdown of this year on Dec. 24, the Vatican has announced that the pope’s traditional public greeting and prayers for the Christmas season will only be offered via livestream.
Pope Francis will give his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing on Christmas day from inside the Apostolic Palace. His scheduled Angelus addresses will likewise only be offered via livestream from inside the palace library through Jan. 6.
In his Wednesday general audience via livestream, the pope reiterated his message from last Sunday that the focus of Christmas should not be consumerism.
“Christmas must not be reduced to a sentimental or consumerist festival, full of gifts and good wishes but poor in Christian faith,” he said.
“Therefore, it is necessary to curb a certain worldly mentality, incapable of grasping the incandescent core of our faith, which is this: ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.”’
Pope Francis said that the world at this time needs tenderness. He added that tenderness is one defining feature of humanity, noting that robots and artificial intelligence cannot express human tenderness.
He said that tenderness can be reborn in us by contemplating Christ’s birth, and the “wonderful way in which God wanted to come into the world.”
“Let us ask for the grace of wonder in the face of this mystery, this reality so tender, so beautiful, so close to our hearts, may the Lord give us the grace of wonder, to meet Him, to draw close to Him, to draw close to all of us,” Pope Francis said.
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