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The nativity scene teaches simplicity and joy, the Pope tells the audience

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In his general audience, Pope Francis reflects on the first Nativity scene, created by Saint Francis 800 years ago in the Italian town of Greccio.

Written by Christopher Wells

In his final general audience before Christmas, Pope Francis returned to the image of the nativity scene, and specifically, the first Nativity scene inaugurated by St. Francis of Assisi 800 years ago.

What was the saint’s intention in organizing a live birth in the small Umbrian town of Greccio? asked the Pope. He explained that Saint Francis was not trying to “create a beautiful work of art, but rather, through the nativity scene, to arouse astonishment at the extreme humility of the Lord, and at the difficulties he suffered, for the sake of our love, in the poor cave of Bethlehem.”

The Pope focused on the word “amazement,” saying that in front of the mystery of the incarnation of the Word and the birth of Jesus, we need this religious attitude of amazement.

Simplicity and joy

Pope Francis went on to identify two main characteristics of the Nativity scene: sobriety and joy.

The first theme belies the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and the consumerism that often characterizes Christmas. Instead, “the Grotto was created to bring us back to what really matters: to God who comes to dwell among us.”

Then the Pope touched on what distinguishes true joy inspired by the nativity scene.

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He said that the joy of Christmas does not come from lavish gifts or lavish celebrations, but rather it is the joy that overflows from the heart that has tangibly experienced the closeness of Jesus and the tenderness of God who does not leave us alone. , but stands with Those who are alone.”

A source of hope and joy

Pope Francis likened the nativity scene to a well from which we can draw closeness to God, “a source of hope and joy.”

He said the nativity scene “is like a living Bible, a home Bible.” Like the well in the Bible, the nativity scene “is a meeting place where we bring to Jesus the expectations and concerns of life, just as the shepherds of Bethlehem and the people of Greccio did.”

When we stand in front of the nativity scene, the Pope said, “If we surrender to Jesus everything we hold dear, we too will experience “great joy.”

In conclusion, Pope Francis said: “Let us go in front of the nativity scene,” encouraging everyone to look at the scene in the manger and allow themselves to feel something within themselves.

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