I love Christmas, and I love to look at lights, have a good time, get and give presents, watch old specials on TV, and eat all kinds of food I shouldn't eat. But, there's more to Christmas, and I'm sure that some of my readers would agree, so I decided to talk about one of the ultimate Christmas trips to take. For Christians all over the world, Christmas is a wonderful time to make a pilgrimage to that fabulous place the we call Vatican City.
Vatican City is the smallest independent city state in the world. It's only 110 acres of land. It has a population of less than 1,000 people. It's only been a city state since 1929. It's been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984. It's been the Pope's residence since 1337. It's considered one of the holiest places on Earth. In addition to the religious side of life, Vatican City is home to several museums and holds some of the most important and famous artworks in the world. It doesn't have it's own military, so it's guarded by the Swiss. If you don't know where Vatican City is, it's right in the center of Rome. Fascinating? It is.
Millions of Catholics go to midnight and morning mass at Christmas. Thousands attend it at St. Peter's Basilica. The largest Catholic Cathedral in the world holds a whole lot of worshipers, and the ones that can't get in for the service can watch it on a jumbotron in St. Peter's Square. It's amazing how easy it is to feel like you're part of something truly special on Christmas Eve night when you're at ground zero for Catholicism.
In St. Peter's Square you will find a beautiful Christmas tree and a life size Nativity along with the televisions to view the services. Just standing in the square gives you the feeling that you've come to someplace Holy and special. This is the spot that most Christians would like to be in at some point during their lives for Christmas. Remember, this isn't just about Santa, folks. This is the night that Christ was born. This was when it all began for Catholics. This is where it all started--on this night in Bethlem. Sometimes we forget that this holiday has deep meaning. It's become so commercialized that the message sometimes gets a little lost. If you've ever felt this way, and want to get away at Christmas, then this is the best spot to do it. You'll feel reborn.
I've been at a service with the Pope presiding. It's a feeling that you can't get from anything else. You feel like you've been touched by God. Nothing is quite like it.
But, why else would you visit Vatican City? Well, you'll obviously be visiting Rome. There's about a thousand reasons to visit Rome from the Spanish Steps to the Colosseum to--oh, that's right--The Vatican. In addition to Christmas services at Vatican City, you could take a tour of the Sistine Chapel and see great works of art covering every single part of the walls and the paintings of Michelangelo on the ceiling. You might want to take a tour of one of the other museums and soak up some culture. You may want to take a tour of the catacombs and see where the popes are laid to rest along with St. Peter, the first of the Popes. You can watch the changing of the Swiss Guards and if you're lucky, get to go to a mass conducted by Pope Francis. You'll always remember that.
You can run all over Rome while visiting the area. At Christmas the whole city is lit up and there are Christmas Trees everywhere. You'll love the lights, the festivities, the shopping, the food, the hot chocolate. You will. But, you can see and do all of that in any city. You can go to Rockefeller Center and see a famous tree. This time take a little time to better your inner self. Quit thinking about getting the new Iphone for Christmas and take care of you soul. Feel good this Christmas and celebrate the things that Christmas was meant to celebrate. Remember where the gift giving began.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Remember how important the lights are. Remember Christ and everything that his life stood for and still stands for. Come to the center of it all. Come to Vatican City.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!! AND GOD BLESS!!!!!