The Blessed Virgin Mary was surprised by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation and Joseph was surprised by the angel in his dream, which told him to take Mary as his wife.
“But it is on the night of Christmas that the biggest surprise comes: The Most High is a small child,” he said. “To celebrate Christmas, then, is to welcome the surprises of Heaven on earth.”
Speaking at his weekly general audience, Pope Francis reflected on the surprising elements of Christ’s birth, and the way each Catholic can replicate the feelings at the first Christmas in his or her heart by making room for silence.
“Christmas is preferring the silent voice of God to the noisiness of consumerism. If we can be silent in front of the crib, Christmas will be a surprise even for us, not something seen before,” he said.
“Be silent in front of the nativity,” he advised. “This is an invitation for Christmas, take some time. Go before the nativity and stay in silence.”
The daily Gospels in Advent warn against becoming weighed down by the “anxieties of daily life.” “These days we rush, maybe as we never have during the year. But this is the opposite of what Jesus wants,” he said.
Pope Francis, even though his time will be filled with events, will deliberately give ‘space to silence’, just as he recommends others do.
We will celebrate Christmas well, “if, like Joseph, we will give space to silence; if, like Mary, we say ‘here I am’ to God; if, like Jesus, we will be close to those who are alone; if, like the shepherds, we will leave our enclosures to be with Jesus,” Pope Francis said.
“It will be Christmas, if we find the light in the poor cave of Bethlehem.”