MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018 •
To celebrate Christmas, then, is to receive on earth the surprises of Heaven.
We cannot simply live an earthly existence when Heaven has brought its news to the world.
Christmas inaugurates a new epoch where life is not planned, but is given: where one no longer lives for oneself, on the basis of one’s own taste, but rather for God; and with God because from Christmas onward, God is the God-with-us, who lives with us, who walks with us.
To experience Christmas is to allow oneself to be shaken by its surprising newness. The Birth of Jesus does not offer reassuring coziness by the fireside, but rather the divine shudder which shakes history.
Christmas is the victory of humility over arrogance, of simplicity over abundance, of silence over clamour, of prayer over “my time”, of God over my self.
To celebrate Christmas is to do as Jesus did, who came for us needy ones and to bend down to those who need us.
It is to do as Mary did: to trust God with docility, even without understanding what he will do.
To celebrate Christmas is to do as Joseph did: to arise in order to do what God wants, even if it is not according to our plans.
Saint Joseph is surprising. He never speaks in the Gospel; there is never a word from Joseph in the Gospel and the Lord speaks to him in silence. He actually speaks to him in his sleep.
Christmas means preferring the silent voice of God to the din of consumerism. If we can pause in silence before the Nativity scene, Christmas will be a surprise for us too, not a thing that we have already seen.
To stand in silence before the Nativity scene: this is the invitation for Christmas.
Take some time, stand before the Nativity scene and be silent. And you will feel, you will understand the surprise.
Pope Francis, 19.12.2018
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