All Diocesan Articles

 

 

Pope Francis: Nativity Scenes Show a 'Domestic Gospel'

Posted on December 18, 2019 in: News, Advent

Pope Francis: Nativity Scenes Show a 'Domestic Gospel'

By Hannah Brockhaus

Vatican City (CNA) - Pope Francis Wednesday called Christmas nativity scenes a “domestic Gospel,” which helps to make the Holy Family present in one’s home.

He also encouraged every family to have one in their home at Christmas time.

During his last general audience of 2019, Francis said Dec. 18 that gazing at the nativity, with the baby Jesus, Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph “we can imagine the thoughts they had while the Child was born in poverty: joy but also shock.”

“And we can also invite the Holy Family to our home, where there are joys and worries, where every day we wake up, get food and sleep close to our loved ones,” he said. “The nativity is a domestic Gospel.”

Pope Francis explained that the word ‘manger’ has the same meaning as trough, and Bethlehem means “house of bread.”

“The manger scene we make at home, where we share food and affections, reminds us that Jesus is the essential nourishment, the bread of life,” he said.

“It is He who feeds our love, it is He who gives our families the strength to continue on and to forgive each other.”

The pope quoted from his Dec. 1 apostolic letter Admirabile signum, saying “the nativity, in fact, ‘is like a living Gospel,’” and urging everyone to have nativities at their homes, schools, workplaces, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and town squares.

A nativity points to the essential: that God became man, he said.

He explained that “setting up a nativity scene is celebrating the closeness of God: God is always close to his people, but he was really close, very close, extremely close” at his birth at Christmas.

Noting that Christmas is just one week away, Francis also encouraged Catholics, in the midst of running around to complete the final preparations, to ask themselves: “How am I preparing for the birth of the celebration?”

Setting up a manger scene is “a simple but effective way to prepare,” he advised. “In today’s frenetic rhythms it is an invitation to contemplation. It reminds us of the importance of stopping.”

The pope also emphasized the tenderness of God as exhibited in a nativity; it shows God not as “distant lord or a detached judge,” he said, but as “humble Love, descended to us.”

He also recalled how some figures of the baby Jesus, called “Bambinelli” in Italian, have open arms, illustrating “that God has come to embrace our humanity.”

Speak to the Lord in the nativity scene, telling him about your cares and concerns, expectations, and the year which has passed, he urged.

“In everyday life we are no longer alone, He lives with us. It does not magically change things but, if we welcome Him, everything can change.”

“I hope for you then that setting up the manger scene is an opportunity to invite Jesus into your life,” he said. “When we make a nativity at home, it opens the door to Jesus. It makes this closeness concrete.”

Click on the photo below to be taken to a gallery of reader-submitted Nativity photos from throughout the Diocese of Norwich

Bookmark and Share  


Signup for Weekly Newsletter

    Annual Catholic Appeal

    Our ACA supported ministries rely on your continued support during this difficult time.
    Thank you so much. 

    ACA DONATE

    English

    EspaƱol

    Recently Added Galleries
    Click to view album: Rite of Election 2020
    Click to view album: Consecrated Life Mass
    Click to view album: St. Michael Church Mass of Dedication, 2020
    Click to view album: Nativity Photos 2019
    Latest Articles
    National Catholic Partnership on Disability Gives Update, Plans More Programs
    Weekend Masses Continue to be Streamed Live
    We Can Help. Promise to Protect-Pledge to Heal
    'Hope & Faith' Video Series: USCCB Response to Death of George Floyd
    Social Justice Ministry Conference on Racism Begins June 6th
    Statement of U.S. Bishop Chairmen in Wake of Death of George Floyd and National Protests
    Pope Francis Asks Catholics to See Church with 'Eyes of the Spirit'
    Culmination of Laudato Si' Week 2020
    Knights of Columbus Founder Fr. Michael McGivney Moves Closer to Sainthood
    Online 'Priest Chat' Returns June 18th
    Two Resources Prepare Parishioners for Public Worship
    'Hope and Faith': Mary in the Month of May

    Annual Fundraiser

    Your 100% tax deductible gift will help us continue to bring the gospel message and the news of the diocese to the faithful throughout eastern Connecticut and the world. Your generosity helps defray the production costs of our print, online, and email newsletter editions of the Four County Catholic, as well as enhancing our Social Media presence. 
     

    For those who would rather mail their gift click here.

    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
    201 Broadway
    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294