Christmas reminds us of hope for the future, pope says

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

CITY (CNS) — The birth of Christ is a reminder for Christians to take a moment
and reflect on the hope of salvation given by God to the world, Pope Francis

who are humble and poor like the shepherds come to realize the promise of hope
that comes from trusting God and not from “their own securities,
especially material goods,” the pope said Dec. 21 during his weekly
general audience.

this: Our own securities will not save us. The
only security that saves us is the hope in God which saves us, which is strong.
It makes us walk through life with joy, with a desire to do good, with a desire
to become happy for all eternity,” the pope said.

Upon entering the Paul VI audience
hall, the pope greeted people and received gifts and letters from well-wishers.

Approaching a crying child, the pope
wiped her tears and did his best to calm her. After succeeding in consoling
her, he then pointed to his cheek, which the toddler leaned toward and kissed.

Continuing his series of talks on
Christian hope, the pope reflected on the birth of Jesus as the “source of
hope” for the world.

God, he said, “does not abandon
his people, he is near to them to the point of stripping himself of his

“(God) entered into the world
and gives us the strength to walk with him. God walks with us through Jesus and
walking with him toward the fullness of life gives us the strength to be in the
present in a new way,” the pope said.

Hope, the pope continued, is never stagnant
and the simplicity of the Nativity creche found in Christian households
“transmits hope. Each character is immersed in this atmosphere of

The pope explained that each image
found in the Nativity scene represents an aspect of this hope, such as the city
of Bethlehem which, despite it not being a capital city, was the place chosen
by divine providence, which “loves to act through the small and the

The figures of Joseph and Mary, who
both believed in the words of the angel, can be seen gazing at the child they were
told by God to name Jesus, the pope said.

“In that name there is hope for
every man and woman because through that son of a woman, God will save humanity
from sin and death,” he said.

The image of the shepherds, he
continued, represents the humble and the poor who witness the long-awaited
promise of hope and
salvation while the angels singing at the birth of Christ represent the “praise
and thanksgiving to God” expressed in Christian life.

“In these days, by contemplating the creche, we prepare
ourselves for the Nativity of the Lord. It will truly be a feast if we receive
Jesus, the seed of hope that God sows within the furrows of our personal
history,” Pope Francis said.

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