Pope Francis explains the symbolism of each figure in the Nativity scene.
Starry Night: "We can think of all those times in our lives when we have experienced the darkness of night. Yet even then, God does not abandon us ... His closeness brings light where there is darkness and shows the way to those dwelling in the shadow of suffering."
Ancient Ruins: "The ruins are the visible sign of fallen humanity, of everything that inevitably falls into ruin, decays and disappoints. This scenic setting tells us that Jesus is newness in the midst of an aging world, that he has come to heal and rebuild."
Animals: "With what emotion should we arrange the mountains, streams, sheep and shepherds in the Nativity scene! As we do so, we are reminded that, as the prophets had foretold, all creation rejoices in the coming of the Messiah."
Angels and Guiding Star: "The angels and the guiding star are a sign that we too are called to set out for the cave and to worship the Lord."
Shepherds: "Unlike so many other people, busy about many things, the shepherds become the first to see the most essential thing of all: the gift of salvation. It is the humble and the poor who greet the event of the Incarnation."
Beggars and Poor People: "There are the beggars and the others who know only the wealth of the heart. They too have every right to draw near to the Infant Jesus; no one can evict them or send them away from a crib so makeshift that the poor seem entirely at home."
Ordinary People: "From the shepherd to the blacksmith, from the baker to the musicians, from the women carrying jugs of water to the children at play: all this speaks of the everyday holiness, the joy of doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way."
Mary: "In her, we see the Mother of God who does not keep her Son only to herself, but invites everyone to obey his word and to put it into practice."
Joseph: "Joseph treasured in his heart the great mystery surrounding Jesus and Mary his spouse; as a just man, he entrusted himself always to God’s will, and put it into practice."
Baby Jesus: "When, at Christmas, we place the statue of the Infant Jesus in the manger, the Nativity scene suddenly comes alive. God appears as a child, for us to take into our arms. Beneath weakness and frailty, he conceals his power that creates and transforms all things."
The Magi: "The Magi teach us that people can come to Christ by a very long route. Men of wealth, sages from afar, athirst for the infinite, they set out on the long and perilous journey that would lead them to Bethlehem ... They are not scandalized by the poor surroundings, but immediately fall to their knees to worship him."
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."