At noon yesterday, the IVth Sunday of Advent, the Holy Father came to the window of his office in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful gathered in Saint Peter's Square. Speaking about the Nativity Scene, the Pope said that it's "simplicity is in contrast with the image of Christmas, which is often proposed in an insistent way by advertising. Even the beautiful tradition of exchanging gifts for Christmas between parents and friends, affected by a certain consumeristic mentality, runs the risk of losing its true 'Christmas' spirit." John Paul II continued, saying that the tradition of exchanging gifts is comprehended because "Jesus in person is God's Gift to humanity, our gifts wishing to be a reflection and an expression of this. For this reason, those acts of solidarity and welcome towards the poor and the needy should be favoured." While contemplating the Nativity scene, where "the Virgin and Saint Joseph await Jesus' birth", the Pope said that the conditions necessary to our preparation for Christmas are "interior silence and prayer, which allow the contemplation of the mystery being commemorated and one's readiness to welcome the Will of God." He ended by saying "Mary and Joseph's 'yes' is complete and commits their entire being: spirit, soul and body." He exclaimed "May it be thus for us! May Jesus, who will make our Nativity Scene shine with joy, find a generous welcome in every Christian family, as what occurred in Bethlehem on the Holy Night. The Vatican press office has announced that the Pope will deliver his 'Urbi et Orbi' Christmas blessing from St Peter's Square and not, as he has in the past, from the central balcony - because of restoration work taking place at St Peter's.
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