January 5, 2011 // Uncategorized

Christmas is time to let God transform one’s life, pope says

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christmas is not just a time to remember the past or to wallow in moralism and sentimentalism, Pope Benedict XVI said.

It’s a time to let God completely transform one’s life so that “we might attain our ultimate human fulfillment by sharing in his glorious divine life,” he said during his first weekly general audience of 2011.

Celebrating the incarnation and birth of Jesus is not just about recalling an event from the past, but it is about celebrating Christ’s continued presence in one’s own life and the world, he told pilgrims gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall Jan. 5.

The Christmas season sparks joy and wonder in so many people because the birth of Christ reflects “humanity’s greatest aspirations and hopes,” he said.

However, today’s consumerist attitudes can distract people from that “inner nostalgia” of sharing in the love of the divine, he said.

“But if in one’s heart there is the desire to welcome that child that came to give us life to the full, then decorative Christmas lights can become a reflection of that light that was illuminated with the incarnation of God,” he said.

Pope Benedict said it’s necessary to save the Christmas season from an attitude that is “too moralistic and sentimental.”

“The celebration of Christmas does not offer us only examples to imitate like the Lord’s humility and poverty, his benevolence and love for all humanity; rather it is an invitation to let ourselves be completely transformed” by Jesus, he said.

The pope asked that people be inspired by the Christmas celebrations and make Christ even more present in their lives by taking part in the liturgy and celebrating the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, where people encounter the real and living Christ.

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Editor’s Note: The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110105_en.html.

The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110105_sp.html.

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