Christmas reflections from Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI

'Joy is the true gift of Christmas'

Nativity scene in Vatican City. Photo: Millionstock/Shutterstock

In turning on the light of the Christmas tree, we wish for the light of Christ to be in us. A Christmas without light is not Christmas. Let there be light in the soul, in the heart; let there be forgiveness to others; let there be no hostilities or darkness. … Let there be the beautiful light of Jesus. This is my wish for all of you, when you turn on the light of the Christmas tree.

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis On the Occasion of the Lighting of the Christmas Tree in Gubbio (Italy), Dec. 7, 2014


Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not expensive presents that demand time and money. We can transmit this joy simply: with a smile, with a kind gesture, with some small help, with forgiveness. Let us give this joy and the joy given will be returned to us. Let us seek in particular to communicate the deepest joy, that of knowing God in Christ. Let us pray that this presence of God’s liberating joy will shine out in our lives.

Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Fourth Sunday of Advent, Dec. 18, 2005


Let us try to partake of the true Christmas, that of Jesus, who draws near to us — God-with-us, close to us — in order to receive the grace of this celebration, which is a grace of closeness, love, humility, and tenderness.

Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square after the Angelus, Dec. 18, 2016


Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus. This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope.”

Urbi Et Orbi Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas 2010


Peace on earth to men and women of goodwill, who work quietly and patiently each day, in their families and in society, to build a more humane and just world, sustained by the conviction that only with peace is there the possibility of a more prosperous future for all. Dear brothers and sisters, ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given’: he is the ‘prince of peace.’ Let us welcome him!

Urbi Et Orbi Message of His Holiness Pope Francis, Christmas 2016

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