On Christmas eve, the Holy Father gave a special address to the UK where he said,
Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God's chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation.
They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom.
God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them.
Full audio and transcription available courtesy of BBC news.
He also gave a Christmas message to Rome and the universal Church, and he began with these words:
Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus.
Read more at The Telegraph
It is amusing what happened when I googled for 'christmas message, pope', where I found these headlines and subtitles from various media sources:
- Chinese government publication lambasts pope for Christmas remarks..
- Pope condemns 'oppressors' in Christmas message..
- Pope's Christmas message admonishes China..
- Pope urges tolerance in Christmas message..
and so on. Could it be that this is how this went right past many people? How sad, to miss the core of his message for Christmas: the Word became flesh (he repeats that four times).
He ends his address by saying, "Dear brothers and sisters, “the Word became flesh”; he came to dwell among us; he is Emmanuel, the God who became close to us. Together let us contemplate this great mystery of love; let our hearts be filled with the light which shines in the stable of Bethlehem! To everyone, a Merry Christmas!" May it be that this message planted seeds in all who read it in full.