CNA Staff, Dec 24, 2023 / 11:40 am (CNA).
On Christmas Eve, Pope Francis urged Christians not to confuse Christmas with consumerism but to celebrate the birth of Christ by sharing with those who are lonely and in need.
Speaking to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the pope offered his greetings for a Christmas holiday full of “warmth, affection, and moderation.”
“And allow me to make one recommendation: Do not confuse celebration with consumerism,” Pope Francis said on Dec. 24.
“We can — and as Christians we must — celebrate in simplicity, without waste, and by sharing with those who lack necessities or lack companionship.”
A crowd gathers in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus with the pope on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2023. Vatican Media
The pope said that we are called to reflect God’s kindness to others by “welcoming, protecting, and respecting others,” especially “those who are marginalized and who are far from the joy of Christmas these days.”
“And so, on Christmas Eve, let us ask ourselves: ‘Do I desire to allow myself to be enveloped by the shadow of the Holy Spirit, by the gentleness and meekness of God, by the kindness of the God, making room for him in my heart, drawing near to his forgiveness, to the Eucharist?’”
The pope also asked people to think of which lonely or needy people could be comforted by their friendship during the Christmas season.
Pope Francis gives his Angelus address on Dec. 24, 2023. Vatican Media
Pope Francis encouraged Christians to remember all who suffer from war, particularly in the Holy Land and Ukraine. “We also think of those who suffer from misery, from hunger, from slavery,” he added.
He prayed for the Lord “ to infuse humanity into the hearts of men” in the midst of war.
Pope Francis’ Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square marked the fourth Sunday of Advent, which falls on Christmas Eve this year. Catholics are asked to attend Mass twice between Dec. 23–25 this year for both Sunday and the solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord.
The pope will preside over a Christmas Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Rome time, which will be broadcast live on EWTN.