“The grace of God has appeared, which brings salvation to all men” (Tt 2,11). The words of the apostle Paul reveal the mystery of this holy night: the God’s grace, his gift
gratuitous; In the Child who has been given to us, God’s love for us becomes concrete.

It is a night of glory , that glory proclaimed by the angels in Bethlehem and also by us throughout the world. It is a night of joy , because from today and forever God, the Eternal, the Infinite, is God with us : he is not far away, we should not look for him in the celestial orbits or in a mystical idea; he is close, he has become a man and he will never tire of our humanity, which he has made his own. It is a night of light : that light that, according to Isaiah’s prophecy (cf. 9,1), will illuminate those who walk in lands of darkness, has appeared and has enveloped the shepherds of Bethlehem ( cf. Lc 2,9).

Shepherds simply discover that “a child has been born to us” (Is 9.5) and they understand that all this glory, all this joy, all this light is concentrated in a single period, in that sign that the angel has indicated to them: “ You will find a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lc 2,12) . This is the usual sign to find Jesus. Not only then, but also today. If we want to celebrate the true Christmas, let us contemplate this sign: the fragile simplicity of a newborn child, the sweetness to see him lying down, the tenderness of the diapers that cover him. There is God.

And with this sign, the Gospel reveals a paradox: it speaks of the emperor, the governor, the greats of that time, but God is not present there; It does not appear in the noble room of a royal palace, but in the poverty of a stable; not in the splendor of appearance, but in the simplicity of life; not in power, but in a smallness that surprises. And to find him you have to go there, where he is: you have to recline, lower yourself, make yourself small. The Child who is born challenges us: he calls us to leave the deceptions of the ephemeral to go to the essential, to renounce our insatiable pretensions, to abandon permanent dissatisfactions and sadness in the face of anything that we will always lack. It will do us good to leave these things to find peace, joy, the luminous meaning of life again in the simplicity of the Child God.

Pope Francis
Homily for the Mass of the Rooster, 12-24-2016

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