In these last days before Christmas, the Church invites us to contemplate the mystery of Christ’s Birth and to receive the gift of his presence, which is the fulfilment of humanity’s deepest hopes and expectations. We share in the quiet joy which filled the hearts of Mary and Joseph, and all those who first welcomed the promised Saviour, who is Emmanuel, God-with-us. By taking our flesh, the Lord saved us from the sin of our first parents; now he bids us to become like him, to see the world through his eyes and to let our hearts be transformed by his infinite goodness and mercy. This Christmas, may the Christ Child find all of us spiritually prepared for his coming. The traditional Christmas crib, which families prepare in these days, is an eloquent sign of our expectation of the Lord who comes. May the wonderment that the crib evokes in children and adults alike bring us closer to the mystery of God’s love revealed in the incarnation of his beloved Son. Let us ask the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph to help us contemplate this great mystery with renewed joy and gratitude.
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I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience. To all of you, and especially the children, I offer my heartfelt good wishes for a serene and joy-filled Christmas!