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Christmas always carries beautiful and good signs. One of these is the nativity scene: here we can see the one set up in the church of Sant'Egidio, it is a familiar sign and a beautiful sign of Christmas. Francis of Assisi wanted it to show how child Jesus was among us. He is close to us hence, this is the message coming to us from the nativity, and more generally from Christmas: Jesus is close, he was born to be close to us.
This is a very important message, after having experienced how sad and heavy it is and how many wounds distancing opens, being far apart from the others, as we have been forced into doing during this long period of pandemic.
Knowing that Jesus is close to us, through him we receive the good news that - in fact, Jesus is amongst us. Because Jesus is the bearer of the good news: first of all, that there is a future - a child who is born tells us that there is a future.
A good news for all those who think their lives does not bear a beautiful and dignified future. A good news for the children of the refugee camps with not even access to school; a good news for the many refugees seeking for a better future in our societies.
A good news for the elderly, lonely, who are forced into institutions where no visits are allowed; for those who live in the street, seeking for help, for support, for someone to call them by their name. Someone to talk to.
Indeed. For us at Sant'Egidio this is the message: Jesus is near and we wish to be his arms, his smile for many during this Christmas so that everyone knows that there is someone close to them; that they are not alone and that their life has indeed a future, and a good one.
This is the Christmas of Sant'Egidio as we set up and prepare the great Christmas lunches and numerous different initiatives so that no one is excluded from the joy and the feast of Christmas. We feel responsible for this Christmas to be for all and everyone of us can do and share. Each of us has a lot to give.
From Sant'Egidio I send you my dearest wishes of a Merry Christmas! May it be a Christmas of joy, may it be a festive Christmas, may it be a Christmas of closeness.
May it be a Christmas in which we show, in our daily work and friendship, that no one is excluded from the feast of Jesus.
President of the Community of Sant'Egidio