Vatican lights up for Christmas celebrations
VATICAN – The Vatican was bathed in an array of new lights on Friday (December 19) as it kicked off its annual Christmas celebrations.
The lighting of the tree in St. Peter’s Square, which traditionally marks the start of the Christmas celebrations at the Vatican, coincided this year with the unveiling of the nativity crib and with the inauguration of the new LED’s lighting of the basilica’s dome and facade.
The nativity crib is traditionally unveiled in a separate ceremony closer to Christmas day.
The 25-and-a-half-meter-tall fir tree decorating St. Peter’s Square came from the majestic Sila mountains of the Southern Calabria region, while the crib figures were donated by the Arena Foundation of the north-eastern town of Verona.
“Christian values have enriched the culture, literature, music and art of your lands, and today such values continue to constitute a valuable heritage to be preserved and transmitted to future generations”, he said. “The Nativity and the Christmas tree are evocative festive symbols very dear to our Christian families: they recall the mystery of the Incarnation, the only begotten Son of God, made flesh in order to save us, and the light that Jesus has brought to the world through His birth. But the creche and the tree touch the hearts of all, as they speak of fraternity, intimacy and friendship, calling to people of our time to rediscover the beauty of simplicity, sharing and solidarity. They are an invitation to unity, harmony and peace; an invitation to make room, in our personal and social life, for God, Who does not come with arrogance, imposing His power, but instead offers His omnipotent love through the fragile figure of a Child. The creche and the tree therefore bring a message of light, hope, and love”.
“The Messiah made Himself man and came among us, to dispel the shadows of error and sin, bringing His divine light to humanity. Jesus Himself says of Himself: ‘I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life’. Let us follow Him, the true light, so as not to lose our way and in turn to reflect light and warmth on those who go through moments of difficulty and inner darkness”.
Video by Reuters