As Christmas approaches, there are decorations everywhere and the final rush for gifts and to make party preparations. But Pope Francis on December 19, 2018, recalled the surprises of the season, surprises that started with the first Christmas centuries ago.
His remarks came during his General Audience in Paul VI Hall, attended by pilgrims from around Italy and the world. And he asked, in a sense: What would God want for Christmas?”
“We look at the first Christmas of history to discover God’s tastes,” Francis recalled. “That Christmas was full of surprises.”
He explained that the surprises began before Christmas, with an angel appearing to Mary to inform her that she would be a virgin mother. For Joseph, there came the surprise that his betrothed was with a child not his own – then the surprising dream that assured him all was well.
“To summarize, Christmas brought unexpected life changes,” Francis said. “And if we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life.
“However, it’s on Christmas Eve that the greatest surprise arrives: the Most High is a little baby. The divine Word is an infant…Who would have expected it? Christmas is to celebrate the unheard-of God, or better, it is to celebrate an unprecedented God, who overturns our logic and our expectations.”
The Holy Father encouraged the faithful to be open to surprises during Christmas. Don’t make it a “worldly” time but help those in need. Be willing to “rise up” as Joseph did and do the will of God.
“To celebrate Christmas is to do as Jesus did, who came for us needy people, and to come down to those in need of us. It to do as Mary did: to entrust ourselves, docile to God, even without understanding what He will do.
“To celebrate Christmas is to do as Joseph did: to rise to do what God wants, even if it’s not according to our plans. Saint Joseph is surprising: he never speaks in the Gospel: there isn’t one word of Joseph in the Gospel, and the Lord speaks to him in silence, He speaks to him in fact in his sleep.
“Christmas is to prefer God’s silent voice to the noises of consumerism. If we are able to be silent before the Crib, Christmas will be a surprise for us also, not something already seen. To be in silence before the Crib: this is the invitation for Christmas. Take a bit of time, go before the Crib and stay in silence. And you will feel, you will see the surprise.”