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Keep living Christmas celebration, Pope urges audience


At his first weekly public audience of 2011, Pope Benedict XVI reminded the faithful that the Church is still celebrating the Nativity, and urging them to “live this Christmas period with intensity.”

Christmas, the Pope remarked, is “not only a remembrance of things past, but a joyful experience of Christ’s enduring presence in our lives and in our world.” The birth of Jesus, he said, reminds us of the mystery of the Incarnation, which points to “the fulfillment of man’s vocation.”

A faithful reading of the story of Christ’s birth presents us with models of “the humility and poverty of the Lord,” the Pope said. Christians should follow Christ’s example, he said, and in so doing should allow themselves to “be transformed totally by the One Who entered our flesh.” In probing this deeper significance of the Christmas celebration, he said, they should “liberate this Christmas period from an overly moralistic and sentimental wrapping.”

With the Magi, the faithful look upon the baby Jesus as the Church celebrates the Epiphany, the Pope said. He described the next step: “After having adored the Son of God made man lying in the manger, we are called to move on to the altar of the sacrifice where Christ, the living Bread Who descended from heaven, offers Himself to us as true nourishment for eternal life.”

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