Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Is About Christ, Benedict XVI Affirms

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 14, 2007 ( In reflecting on the meaning of the Christmas tree, Benedict XVI affirmed that Christmas is a Christian holiday, and that its symbols make important references to the incarnation and birth of Christ.

The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience a delegation from the autonomous Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol, led by the regional president and the mayor of the village of San Martino in Badia/St. Martin in Thurn.

The fir, which will stand next to the Nativity scene through Christmas, "is an important symbol of Christ's nativity because with its evergreen leaves it recalls the life that does not die," said the Holy Father. "The fir is also a symbol of the popular religiosity in your valleys, which finds particular expression in processions."

The Pontiff continued: "The tree and the Nativity scene are elements of that typical Christmas atmosphere which is part of the spiritual heritage of our communities; an atmosphere suffused with religiosity and family intimacy which we must conserve even in our modern societies where the race to consumerism and the search for material goods sometimes seem to prevail."

"Christmas is a Christian feast," added Benedict XVI, "and its symbols, especially the nativity scene and the tree hung with gifts, are important references to the great mystery of the incarnation and the birth of Jesus, which are constantly evoked by the liturgy of Advent and Christmas."


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