Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord - "Urbi et Orbi" blessing
Central Loggia of the Vatican Basilica
"URBI ET ORBI"
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Friday, 25 December 2020
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Christmas!
Christ is born for us, let us rejoice in the day of
Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day,
which is Christ himself. Jesus is the radiant “day” which has dawned on
the horizon of humanity. A day of mercy, in which God our Father has
revealed his great tenderness to the entire world. A day of light, which
dispels the darkness of fear and anxiety. A day of peace, which makes for
encounter, dialogue and, above all, reconciliation. A day of joy: a “great
joy” for the poor, the lowly and for all the people (cf. Lk 2:10).
On this day, Jesus, the Saviour is born of the Virgin
Mary. The Crib makes us see the “sign” which God has given us: “a baby
wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). Like
the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too set out to see this sign, this
event which is renewed yearly in the Church. Christmas is an event which
is renewed in every family, parish and community which receives the love
of God made incarnate in Jesus Christ. Like Mary, the Church shows to
everyone the “sign” of God: the Child whom she bore in her womb and to
whom she gave birth, yet who is the Son of the Most High, since he “is of
the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20). He is truly the Saviour, for he
is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sin of the world (cf. Jn
1:29). With the shepherds, let us bow down before the Lamb, let us
worship God’s goodness made flesh, and let us allow tears of repentance to
fill our eyes and cleanse our hearts. This is something we all need!
He alone, he alone can save us. Only God’s mercy can
free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which
selfishness spawns in our midst. The grace of God can convert hearts and
offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.
Where God is born, hope is born. He brings hope. Where
God is born, peace is born. And where peace is born, there is no longer
room for hatred and for war. Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of
God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains
a gift to be implored and built. May Israelis and Palestinians resume
direct dialogue and reach an agreement which will enable the two peoples
to live together in harmony, ending a conflict which has long set them at
odds, with grave repercussions for the entire region.
We pray to the Lord that the agreement reached in the
United Nations may succeed in halting as quickly as possible the clash of
arms in Syria and in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation
of its suffering people. It is likewise urgent that the agreement on Libya
be supported by all, so as to overcome the grave divisions and violence
afflicting the country. May the attention of the international community
be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities which in those countries,
as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, even now reap
numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the
historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples. My thoughts also turn
to those affected by brutal acts of terrorism, particularly the recent
massacres which took place in Egyptian airspace, in Beirut, Paris, Bamako
To our brothers and sisters who in many parts of the
world are being persecuted for their faith, may the Child Jesus grant
consolation and strength. They are our martyrs of today.
We also pray for peace and concord among the peoples of
the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and South Sudan, that dialogue
may lead to a strengthened common commitment to the building of civil
societies animated by a sincere spirit of reconciliation and of mutual
May Christmas also bring true peace to Ukraine, offer
comfort to those suffering from the effects of the conflict, and inspire
willingness to carry out the agreements made to restore concord in the
May the joy of this day illumine the efforts of the
Colombian people so that, inspired by hope, they may continue their
commitment to working for the desired peace.
Where God is born, hope is born; and where hope is
born, persons regain their dignity. Yet even today great numbers of
men and woman are deprived of their human dignity and, like the child
Jesus, suffer cold, poverty, and rejection. May our closeness today be
felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women
who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug
Nor may our encouragement be lacking to all those
fleeing extreme poverty or war, travelling all too often in inhumane
conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives. May God repay
all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide
assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees, helping them
to build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to
be integrated in the societies which receive them.
On this festal day may the Lord grant renewed hope to
all those who lack employment – and they are so many!; may he sustain the
commitment of those with public responsibilities in political and economic
life, that they may work to pursue the common good and to protect the
dignity of every human life.
Where God is born, mercy flourishes. Mercy is
the most precious gift which God gives us, especially during this Jubilee
year in which we are called to discover that tender love of our heavenly
Father for each of us. May the Lord enable prisoners in particular to
experience his merciful love, which heals wounds and triumphs over evil.
Today, then, let us together rejoice in the
day of our salvation. As we contemplate the Crib, let us gaze on the
open arms of Jesus, which show us the merciful embrace of God, as we hear
the cries of the Child who whispers to us: “for my brethren and companions’
sake, I will say: Peace be within you” (Ps 121:8).