Vatican City, 10 December, 2023 / 8:50 pm (ACI Africa).
Pope Francis said today that the Vatican’s Nativity scene this year should compel people to think of the Holy Land — both of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago and also of the conflict currently engulfing the region.
“While we contemplate Jesus, God made man, small, poor, defenseless, we cannot help but think of the drama that the inhabitants of the Holy Land are experiencing, demonstrating to these brothers and sisters of ours, especially to children and their parents, our closeness and our spiritual support,” the pope said.
The pope made his remarks in a Saturday morning audience in Paul VI Hall with two delegations who had donated, respectively, the Christmas tree and the Nativity scene, or creche, that will be displayed in St. Peter’s Square this year. The unveiling of the Nativity scene and lighting of the Christmas tree are scheduled to take place this evening.
An annual custom, this year’s Vatican creche pays special tribute to the first known Nativity scene, which was set up by St. Francis of Assisi in the small Italian village of Greccio 800 years ago.