I am speaking to you from the church of Sant'Egidio, where a nativity scene representing Christmas in the Community has been set up. Christmas in the Community is Christmas for all, it is the Christmas of Jesus and it is Christmas where no one is excluded. Among the many figures in the nativity scene, we see homeless people, people who are ill, immigrants who have come with the humanitarian corridors, people who live in prison and many other situations of difficulty and exclusion, often also of pain in our city.
At Christmas there was no room for Jesus at the inn, says the Gospel. There was no worthy place for Jesus to be born. Well, this Christmas is meant to be a response to the fact that there must be room for everyone at Christmas. No one must be excluded from Christmas, from the celebration of Christmas.
It has been 40 years since the Christmas lunch was first organised in the magnificent basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Back then there were only 47 of us around that table, today thousands and thousands of people sit at the Christmas lunch table, precisely because no one should be excluded.
And among them, we have the joy of welcoming this year so many Ukrainians who live in pain, far from their country, who suffer like all of us from the serious conflict in Ukraine, who today live in darkness, in the dark, in the cold. Let this also be a Christmas of great solidarity with Ukrainian men and women, those who still live in their homeland and those who live among us.
All together and with them let us experience this joy of celebrating Jesus. What does Christmas mean if you exclude Jesus, who is the poor, who is the rejected, and who is the last? Well, in the Christmas of Sant'Egidio, in which we will ask so many to participate, to help, and to lend a hand in the many ways in which it is possible for each one, there will truly be room for everyone this Christmas.
This is the wish that comes from Sant'Egidio, it is the wish that our Community makes, and above all, it is a wish for peace to those who suffer from war. And it is a wish for good, for good health for everyone. Merry Christmas!
President of the Community of Sant'Egidio
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