Christmas Lesson: We Are Not Alone, Says Pope

Notes That "God Took the Initiative to Come to Meet Us"

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says the mystery of Christmas reminds us that God became man to be by our side, so "we must never feel alone."



The Pope dedicated today's general audience, the last of the year, to reflect on the closing days of Advent, "a powerful proclamation of hope, which touches profoundly our personal and communal experience."

"Every man dreams of a more just and solidaristic world, where dignified conditions of life and peaceful coexistence render relations harmonious between individuals and peoples," the Holy Father told the pilgrims gathered in Paul VI Hall.

"Often, however, it is not like this. Obstacles, contrasts and difficulties of various kinds weigh down our existence and at times almost oppress it," he said.

"The forces and courage of being committed to the good, risk yielding to evil which at times seems to have the upper hand. It is especially in these moments that hope comes to our help," the Pope continued.

"The mystery of Christmas, which we will relive in a few days, assures us that God is Emmanuel -- God with us. For this reason, we must never feel alone," he said.

"He is close to us, he became one of us being born in the virginal womb of Mary. He shared our pilgrimage on earth, enabling us to attain that joy and peace, to which we aspire from the depth of our being," the Pontiff explained.

He continued: "Advent and especially Christmas are a reminder to man, who rises from daily affairs and seeks communion with God, that God took the initiative to come to meet us. Becoming a baby, Jesus assumed our nature and established his covenant with the whole of humanity forever. … He came to Bethlehem to stay with us forever."

At the end of the audience, a singer sang two Christmas carols in Polish, and an Austrian band and Italian "zambomba" musicians played some Christmas melodies.