The donors of the tree and the manger for display in St. Peter's Square this year met with the pope this morning. Pope Francis very much enjoyed their company.
“The nativity scene and the tree are fascinating symbols of Christmas. It can bring to families and places for meeting a reflection of the light and tenderness of God. It helps everyone to live the feast of the birth of Jesus.”
The novelty for this year's Nativity is based on the Dolomite tradition. This is because the Patriarch of Venice proposed to build a manger entirely of sand. This material has a very deep meaning.
Patriarch of Venice
“Sand is the image of something that comes from the earth. We know, as the Bible says, that man comes from the earth, that he is fragile. This is the mystery of God shaped through this element that transmits in an excellent way that man's fragility also requires a moment of reflection on Christmas; and an examination of conscience.”
Although they have made it waterproof, the four sculptors have designated a person to be available at any time in case the crib suffers any damage.
“Some people are surprised to see that once dry the sculpture does not collapse. It's like a clay figure when it's wet, but once it's dry it's very firm.”
The tree this year will be a red spruce, much simpler than that of previous years and also after Christmas will be destined for a special project.
Bishop of Concordia-Pordenone
“An agreement has already been made that nothing will be thrown away and the tree will be recycled so that toys can be made for poor children.”
No doubt this year will be original, special and unique for the Vatican's Christmas decorations. This as the pope has said, perfectly reflects “simplicity, tenderness and kindness.”