“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace among men with whom he is pleased!”
I still remember when as a boy growing up in Naples (Italy), as Christmas approached, I tried to decorate the Christmas crib as much as possible. Every day with the savings which I had, I ran to the shop to buy statuettes to decorate the crib with the figures of the scene. The Child Jesus was covered with a white veil until at the Midnight of Christmas, when it was uncovered with a ‘magical touch’. Then the Child Jesus appeared in its splendour to dissipate the darkness. He is the ‘Light of Humanity’ announced by the Prophets, as the Messiah, the Saviour, who with his advent illuminates the “people walking in the darkness”.
It is a scene that is repeated every year as expected from the liturgical text. A scene that we know by heart but – alas – our existence is also sometimes distracted by tempting callbacks of consumerism. All the more such a tendency is invading our environment damaging the real significance of Christmas that should be holy, spiritual, lived through faith and gratitude to the Divine Redeemer who comes to manifest the love of God the Father.
As ‘Ambassador of the Pope’, I receive many visits during the Christmas season. The more important and privileged guests are naturally groups of children, who by now, with high expectation, wait for the Christmas celebration. The ‘Home of the Pope in Bangkok’, premises and garden at the Apostolic Nunciature, will be swarmed by numerous and festive visitors: the street children of Fr Adriano (PIME), children of single mothers of Sr Louise (RGS), the HIV children from the Center of Fr Maier (CSsR), and Fr Giovanni (Order of St Camillus), and many others.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Lk 2:14). Dear Friends, through Today’s Catholic, I heartily send you also this year my sincere greetings for Christmas, while I pray that the Infant Jesus give you abundant blessings, serenity and perfect happiness.
3 December 2007