Vatican City. In time with the Advent and Christmas celebrations, Pope Francis released on Sunday, December 1, 2019, Admirabile signum, his Apostolic Letter on the meaning and importance of the Nativity Scene. The nativity scene, he said, is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. As we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman. We come to realize that so great is his love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him.
The Pope encourages everyone to keep the beautiful family tradition of preparing the Nativity Scene in their homes, in public and private places. He said that it is a form of evangelization as it was meant by St. Francis in 1223. St. Francis’ teaching touched the hearts of Christians and continues today to offer a simple yet authentic means of portraying the beauty of our faith. In the same letter, Pope Francis explained the message of the nativity scene through the different characters that compose it.
Beginning in childhood, and at every stage of our lives, it teaches us to contemplate Jesus, to experience God’s love for us, to feel and believe that God is with us and that we are with him, his children, brothers and sisters all, thanks to that Child who is the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin Mary. And to realize that in that knowledge we find true happiness. Like Saint Francis, may we open our hearts to this simple grace, so that from our wonderment a humble prayer may arise: a prayer of thanksgiving to God, who wished to share with us his all, and thus never to leave us alone.
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