Christmastide follows, beginning with First Vespers of Christmas on the evening of December 24 and ending with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Traditionally, the end of Christmastide was February 2, or the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas.
“May he soften our often stony and self-centered hearts, and make them channels of his love,” he said. “May he bring his smile, through our poor faces, to all the children of the world: to those who are abandoned and those who suffer violence. Through our frail hands, may he clothe those who have nothing to wear, give bread to the hungry and heal the sick. Through our friendship, such as it is, may he draw close to the elderly and the lonely, to migrants and the marginalized. On this joyful Christmas Day, may he bring his tenderness to all and brighten the darkness of this world.”