As religious displays for Christmas are being forced out of the public square by secular leftists, Pope Francis encouraged that Nativity scenes be displayed in schools, town squares, and other forms of public property.
According to Crux, Pope Francis kicked off the first Sunday of Advent by signing the apostolic letter Admirabile signum which stressed the meaning and importance of the Nativity scene, urging Christians to buck secular trends and display the crèche proudly on public property.
“Great imagination and creativity is always shown in employing the most diverse materials to create small masterpieces of beauty,” Francis wrote in the letter. “As children, we learn from our parents and grandparents to carry on this joyful tradition, which encapsulates a wealth of popular piety. It is my hope that this custom will never be lost and that, wherever it has fallen into disuse, it can be rediscovered and revived.”
The letter was signed in the Italian town of Greccio, where the first crèche was erected by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223. The letter went to say how the Nativity scene reflects Christ’s humble beginnings in the manger and how the poor and marginalized play a “privileged part” in Christian history.
“By being born in a manger, God himself launches the only true revolution that can give hope and dignity to the disinherited and the outcast: the revolution of love, the revolution of tenderness,” continued the Holy Father. “From the manger, Jesus proclaims, in a meek yet powerful way, the need for sharing with the poor as the path to a more human and fraternal world in which no one is excluded or marginalized.”
The apostolic letter also extolled St. Francis of Assisi’s use of the Nativity scene as a means of evangelization when he said Mass “over the manger, showing the bond between the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Eucharist. At Greccio there were no statues; the nativity scene was enacted and experienced by all who were present.”
Noting that the Nativity scene portrays the “beauty of our faith,” the Holy Father said Christians adore the Nativity scene every year because it represents God’s humble love.
“The Creator of the universe lowered himself to take up our littleness,” said Francis. “The gift of life, in all its mystery, becomes all the more wondrous as we realize that the Son of Mary is the source and sustenance of all life.”
“The birth of a child awakens joy and wonder; it sets before us the great mystery of life,” he continued. “Seeing the bright eyes of a young couple gazing at their newborn child, we can understand the feelings of Mary and Joseph who, as they looked at the Infant Jesus, sensed God’s presence in their lives.”
The Pope concluded by calling on all Christians to bear good tidings and joy to all this Christmas season.
“Each of us is called to bear glad tidings to all, testifying by our practical works of mercy to the joy of knowing Jesus and his love,” he wrote.