Vatican City, 14 December 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received in audience a delegation from the Italian region of Molise, which this year has donated the fir tree raised next to the Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square. The lighting ceremony will take place later on today.
The Pope thanked the delegation for the silver fir - which was accompanied by eight other smaller trees destined for the Apostolic Palace and various other locations around the Vatican - and greeted them following a brief address."God became man and came among us to dispel the shadows of sin, bringing His divine light to humanity. This highest of lights, symbolised and recalled by the Christmas tree, has not only shown no sign of dimming through the passing of the centuries and the millennia, but rather continues to shine upon us and to illuminate every person who comes into the world, especially in moments of uncertainty and difficulty. Jesus Himself declared, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life'. ... And, the attempts made through the ages to extinguish the light of God, to replace it with the glare of illusion and deceit, have heralded episodes of tragic violence against mankind. This is because the attempt to cancel the name of God from the pages of history results in distortion, in which even the most beautiful and noble words lose their true meaning".