The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has issued an Apostolic Letter on the meaning and importance of the nativity scene. As Christmas draws ever closer, we have already begun to assemble the scene in our homes. May, Joseph, the baby Jesus in his crib surrounded by shepherds, animals and wise men. Entitled ‘Admirabile signum’ the Letter refers to the “enchanting image” of the Christmas scene, one that “never ceases to arouse amazement and wonder”. The Holy Father says that “The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God”.
Pope Francis goes on to reflect that our Nativity scenes are like a “living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture”. He hopes the Letter will encourage families to come together and prepare their nativity scenes, “but also the custom of setting it up in the workplace, in schools, hospitals, prisons and town squares.” He hopes the custom will never be lost “and that, wherever it has fallen into disuse, it can be rediscovered and revived.”
The Holy Father issued the letter on the occasion of visiting the Italian town of Greccio; the town where St. Francis of Assisi was enchanted by the local custom of celebrating the Eucharist over a manger at Christmas which gave him inspiration to assemble a nativity scene.
“A sign of God’s tender love”, the Pope goes on to draw out the significance of each part of the scene. The letter is truly a masterpiece in words that brings the Nativity Scene to life. To read the Apostolic Letter click the button below.