December 23, 2009.
The pope says that to understand the deep meaning of Christianity one must understand the depth of Christmas.
This was the topic at the pope’s weekly general audience one day before Christmas Eve. Benedict XVI says this celebration has given a new dimension to the Christian faith because God has showed a new way of living and loving.
Hippolytus of Rome was the first to state clearly that Jesus was born December 25th. It was in the year 204. But it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that St. Francis of Assisi began the tradition to celebrate Christmas. Up until that point, the only recognized celebration was Easter. Benedict XVI“This Christmas, may the Lord grant us simplicity of heart, so that we may recognize his presence and love in the lowly Babe of Bethlehem, and, like the shepherds, return to our homes filled with ineffable joy and gladness.”
St. Francis of Assisi also started the tradition to set up a Nativity scene and worship Christ’s humanity.
The pope wishes everyone to be filled with love, joy and happiness, this Christmas because God, with the coming of the child, is close to everyone and keeps a close relationship with all.