Thousands of people flocked to St. Peter's Square to see Pope Francis' first Urbi et Orbi Christmas blessing. As expected, the Pope put his personal style in the message.
"God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.”
It's a time of joy, but the Pope also understands that many people face stark challenges during this time of year. In particular, Christians who live in the Holy Land, where Jesus was born.
"Looking at the Child in the manger, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives! Bless the land where you chose to come into the world, and grant a favorable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence."
The Pope isn't very fond of speaking languages he's not completely fluent in. Usually Popes say a Christmas greeting in dozens of languages, but the Pope stuck to the basics.
To you, dear brothers and sisters, gathered from throughout the world in this Square, and to all those from different countries who join us through the communications media, I offer my cordial best wishes for a merry Christmas!
Along with his blessing, the Vatican's Bavarian Christmas tree and nativity scene, from Naples, shinned bright in St. Peter's Square, surrounded by thousands of people who made their way to the Vatican to celebrate Christmas.