As we celebrate the Church’s New Year, we commence our journey towards Christmas confronted by the secular expressions of its significance as portrayed in our shopping centres, in the media and expressed in the decorations that don many houses in our neighbourhoods.

In his apostolic letter of December 2019 Pope Francis reflected on the meaning and importance of the nativity scene. He opened with the following statement:

The enchanting image of the Christmas creche, so dear to the Christian people, never ceases to arouse amazement and wonder. The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. As we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman. We come to realise that so great is his love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him. Pope Francis, December 2019

A link to the letter has been provided below so that if you wish you can read it in its entirety.

Let us take Pope Francis’ words to heart and display the crib in our homes, offices, workplace, schools, hospitals, prisons or wherever we are ministering as a reminder that the message of Christmas is encapsulated in the nativity scene.

  • The awe of parents with their newborn child,
  • the first visitors to the stable – the shepherds with their humble backgrounds and ordinariness,
  • the song of the Angels announcing a great event and
  • the kings who travelling from the east to see for themselves the fulfillment of an old testament promise.

May the Christ-child be born again in our hearts and homes this Christmas.

Kath Hitchcock rsj

Pope Francis “Urbi Et Orbi” Christmas 2019 Message

Photo: Nativity outdoor decor during night time by NeONBRAND obtained from Unsplash.