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Pre-Christmas Address

"Leap Forward" in the History of Salvation

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 23, 2004 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of John Paul II's address at Tuesday's general audience, which he dedicated to comment the mystery of Christmas.

* * *

1. During these days of preparation for Christmas we pray continually in the liturgy, "Come, Lord Jesus." It is like a refrain that surges from the heart of believers from all corners of the Earth and resounds incessantly in the prayer of the Church.

We have also invoked the coming of Christ a few moments ago with today's "O antiphon." The Messiah is invoked using some of the most beautiful titles found in sacred Scripture: "King of the Gentiles," "Hope of all nations," "Cornerstone uniting all peoples."

2. On Christmas we contemplate the great mystery of God becoming man in the Virgin's womb. He is born in Bethlehem to share our fragile human condition! He comes among us and brings salvation to the whole world. His mission will be to reunite all human beings and peoples in the one family of the children of God.

We can say that in the mystery of Christmas, we contemplate the "leap forward" in the history of salvation. To the human being, who with sin has distanced himself from the creator, is offered in Christ the gift of a new and fuller communion with him. Hope springs up in our hearts, and the gates of heaven are opened for us.

3. Dear brothers and sisters! May the celebration of Christmas be a propitious occasion to truly live the value and meaning of the great event of Jesus' birth. This is the wish that I express to all of you in this general audience, to your families and to your communities.

[At the end of the audience, a papal aide read the following summary in English:]

As we prepare for the feast of Christmas, we pray continually: "Come, Lord Jesus." It is like a refrain which rises from the hearts of believers in every corner of the earth. In today's "O antiphon" the Messiah is invoked using some of the most beautiful titles found in Sacred Scripture: "King of the Gentiles," "Hope of all nations," "Cornerstone uniting all peoples."

At Christmas, we contemplate the great mystery of God becoming man in the Virgin's womb so as to share our fragile human condition. He comes among us and brings salvation to the whole world. Although our sin has separated us from God, in Christ we are offered the gift of a new and fuller communion with him. Hope springs up in our hearts, and the gates of heaven are opened for us.

Dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters! The celebration of Christmas gives us an opportunity to live more profoundly the great event of the birth of Jesus. I pray that it may be so for all of you who are present at this general audience, and also for your families and the communities to which you belong.

I extend a special welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims here today, including groups from the United States of America. Upon all of you I invoke the grace and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and I wish you many blessings during the holy season of Christmas.


The Vatican , VA
Pope John Paul II - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000



Pope, Christmas, Advent, Salvation,

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