Pope Francis gives guidance on how to live the Christmas season

In the last General Audience before Christmas, Pope Francis gave guidance to pilgrims on how to live the Christmas season.

The Pope pointed out that consumerism and advertising corrupt the Christmas spirit and that this can lead to neglect of its true meaning.

"The consumerism of Christmas... It's true that it is fine to want to give gifts," the pope said. "But with the frantic rush of go, go, go...that diverts the attention elsewhere and there is not that sobriety of Christmas."

Pope Francis said that in the image of the nativity scene, besides sobriety, there is joy, but it mustn't be confused with fun.

"Joy is a different thing from fun, but having fun is not a bad thing if you're on the right track," he said. "It's not...it is a human thing. But joy is even deeper, more human. And sometimes there is a temptation to have fun without joy. To have fun making noises, but there is no joy. It's a bit like the figure of the clown, who laughs, makes people laugh, but the heart is sad."

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis again asked for peace in Israel and Palestine as well as in Ukraine. Present in the Paul VI Audience Hall was the Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See, who, with this gesture, thanked the Pope for his words.