Christmas 2017: Pope Francis calls for a Christ centric festival; regrets commercialization with Santa Claus

Pope Francis
Pope Francis waves during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican October 22, 2017. Reuters

On the occasion of Christmas 2017, Pope Francis has urged the world to celebrate the "real Christmas', which can only be Jesus Christ-centric. In a tweet, he asked people to liberate the Yuletide festival from all "worldliness" and concentrate on the "beauty of being loved by God."

The Pope has previously made comments on the commercialization of Christmas and the trend of shifting away from Jesus Christ during the festival's celebration. He recently told a group of schoolchildren that Christmas loses all significance if Jesus Christ is removed from it.

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"Let us free Christmas from the worldliness that has taken it hostage! The true spirit of Christmas is the beauty of being loved by God," said the tweet. Another tweet said, "If we really want to celebrate Christmas, let's contemplate this image: the fragile simplicity of a new-born baby. That's where God is."

When a group of youngsters came to the Vatican to take blessings from the figures of Jesus, they were taught about the meaning of real Christmas. "This is the real Christmas. If we take away Jesus, what is left of Christmas? An empty feast," said Francis.

The battle of the church against securalizing Christmas has been going on for quite some time. In November, an Irish priest stated that Christians should stop using the word "Christmas" for this auspicious day as the word has lost all religious meaning by becoming hard-core commercial. Father Desmond O'Donnell also advised Christians to replace it with a more meaningful word as X-mas has now been hijacked by "Santa and reindeer."

"We've lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely. We need to let it go; as it's already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that," he said, as reported by Breitbart.

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In the US, the trend is now leaning towards a more secular Christmas, with people of all religious and ethnicities coming together to make the festival joyous with Secret Santas, reindeer and decorating their homes and workplaces with festive lights.

Reports say that only half of Americans still adhere to the Nativity story about Christmas and believe in miracles due to the birth of Jesus. 66 percent of adults in the US agree that Jesus Christ is the son of God who was born of a virgin mother Mary to repent for the sins of mankind.

Watch Pope Francis leading Christmas Midnight Mass:

This article was first published on December 25, 2017