Pope Francis, on Sunday, at the Catholic festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, urged Christians to reflect on the “true” meaning of Christmas.
Francis made this call during his Sunday Angelus message at the the Vatican City.
“Next Sunday will be Christmas Day. In the coming week, please, let’s try to find a moment to stop, be a bit quiet, and imagine the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph on their way to Bethlehem,’’ he said.
“Imagine their journey, their hardship but also their joy, their anxiety about finding a place to stay, their worry, and so on.
“Nativity scenes can help us a lot with this. Let’s try to experience the true Christmas, the Christmas of Jesus,’’ he added.
The Catholic Church has often complained about the increasing commercialisation of Christmas, which is also a secular holiday that most people associate with shopping for the exchange of gifts and big family meals.
In 2011, Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, said in a Christmas Eve Mass: “Today, Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God’s humility, which in turn, calls us to humility and simplicity’’.
Francis, who turned 80 on Saturday, also thanked all the people, who had sent him birthday wishes.