VATICAN CITY, DEC. 25, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Today a great light and hope entered the world, but humility is needed in order to see and accept it, said Benedict XVI in his traditional Christmas message.
The Pope affirmed this today from the central balcony at St. Peter's. He gave a Christmas greeting in 63 languages then gave his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world).
"The birth of a child normally brings a light of hope to those who are waiting anxiously," the Holy Father said. "When Jesus was born in the stable at Bethlehem, a 'great light' appeared on earth; a great hope entered the hearts of those who awaited him: in the words of today's Christmas liturgy, 'lux magna.'
"Admittedly it was not 'great' in the manner of this world. [...] Yet, in the shadows and silence of that holy night, a great and inextinguishable light shone forth for every man; the great hope that brings happiness entered into the world.
The Pontiff reflected on the mystery of Christmas as the coming of light into the world.
"The creative Word of God is light, the source of life. All things were made through the Logos, not one thing had its being but through him," he said. "That is why all creatures are fundamentally good and bear within themselves the stamp of God, a spark of his light.
"Nevertheless, when Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, the Light himself came into the world. [...] In Jesus, God assumed what he was not, while remaining what he was: 'Omnipotence entered an infant's body and did not cease to govern the universe.'
"The Creator of man became man in order to bring peace to the world. For this reason, during Christmas night, the hosts of angels sing: 'Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those whom he loves.'
Benedict XVI said the light of Christ is the bearer of peace. Quoting the entrance antiphon of Christmas Midnight Mass, he said, "Today true peace has come down to us from heaven."
He continued: "Indeed, it is only the 'great' light manifested in Christ that can give 'true' peace to men: That is why every generation is called to welcome it, to welcome the God who in Bethlehem became one of us.
"This is Christmas -- the historical event and the mystery of love, which for more than 2,000 years has spoken to men and women of every era and every place. It is the holy day on which the 'great light' of Christ shines forth, bearing peace!"
If we are to recognize the light, the Pope affirmed, "faith is needed and humility is needed."
Humility, he said, like that of "Mary, who believed in the word of the Lord and, bending low over the manger, was the first to adore the fruit of her womb; the humility of Joseph, the just man, who had the courage of faith and preferred to obey God rather than to protect his own reputation; the humility of the shepherds, the poor and anonymous shepherds, who received the proclamation of the heavenly messenger and hastened toward the stable, where they found the newborn child and worshipped him, full of astonishment, praising God."
"The little ones, the poor in spirit: They are the key figures of Christmas, in the past and in the present," the Pope said. "They have always been the key figures of God's history, the indefatigable builders of his Kingdom of justice, love and peace."