Let us allow ourselves to be questioned by the Child in the manger, but let us also allow ourselves to be questioned by the children who, today, are not reclining in a cradle or caressed by the affection of a mother or a father, but lie in the squalid « mangers where their dignity is devoured »: in the underground shelter to escape the bombings, on the sidewalks of a big city, at the bottom of a barge full of migrants. Let us allow ourselves to be questioned by children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satisfies their hunger, by those who do not have toys in their hands, but weapons.

The mystery of Christmas, which is light and joy, challenges and strikes, because it is at the same time a mystery of hope and sadness . It carries with it a taste of sadness , because love has not been welcomed, life is discarded. This is what happened to Joseph and Mary, who found the doors closed and put Jesus in a manger, “ because they had [for them] no place in the inn” (v. 7) : Jesus is born rejected by some and in the indifference of the majority. Also today the same indifference can occur, when Christmas is a party where the protagonists are us instead of him; when the lights of the commerce corner in the shadow the light of God; when we strive for gifts and remain insensitive to those who are marginalized. This worldliness has hijacked Christmas from us, it is necessary to free it!

But Christmas above all has a flavor of hope because, despite our darkness, God’s light shines. Its soft light is not scary; God, in love with us, attracts us with his tenderness, being born poor and fragile in our midst, as one more. He was born in Bethlehem, which means “ house of bread “. It seems that it means that it is born as bread for us ; comes to life to give us his life; comes to our world to bring us his love. It does not come to devour and command, but to nurture and serve. In this way there is a direct line that unites the manger and the cross, where Jesus will be broken bread : it is the direct line of love that gives itself and saves us, that gives light to our life, peace to our hearts.

It was understood that night by the shepherds, who were among the marginalized at that time. But none of them are marginalized in the eyes of God and it was they who were invited to Christmas. Those who were sure of themselves, self-sufficient, stayed at home among their things; the shepherds, on the other hand, “ were running in haste” (cf. Lk 2,16). Let us also allow ourselves to be challenged and summoned tonight by Jesus, let us go to him with confidence, from that in which we we feel marginalized, from our limits, from our sins. Let us let ourselves be touched by the tenderness that saves. Let’s get closer to God who is close, let’s stop to look at the nativity scene, let’s imagine the birth of Jesus: light and peace, absolute poverty and rejection. Let us enter into the true Christmas with the shepherds, let us bring to Jesus who we are, our marginalization, our unhealed wounds, our sins. Thus, in Jesus, we will savor the true spirit of Christmas: the beauty of being loved by God. With Mary and Joseph let us remain before the manger, before Jesus who is born as bread for my life. Contemplating his humble and infinite love, let us simply say thank you: thank you, because you have done all this for me .

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

Miracle Sound Radio