At the Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Dec.6, 2020, Pope Francis said there is no pandemic or crisis that can turn off the light of Christmas. Referencing the Vatican’s recently erected Christmas tree and the Nativity Scene that is soon to be assembled, he said “they are symbols, or signs of hope, especially during this difficult time”, and he invited Christians not to stop at the symbols, but to go beyond and understand their meaning: “Jesus, the love of God, who was revealed to us to reach that goodness which has been poured out on the world.” He said let us allow the light of Christmas to enter into our hearts and reach out toward those who are most in need. “God will once again be born in us and in our midst.” This year’s Vatican Christmas tree was donated by the city of Kocevje located in southeast Slovenia and it is a 92 foot high Norway spruce. The tree is from a region that takes special care of the environment and where forests make up 90 percent of the land. It is also the home of the tallest spruce tree in Europe which is 203 feet tall and 300 years old. The tree will be decorated with handmade Slovenian ethnographic ornaments. Pope John Paul II began the tradition of displaying a Christmas tree at the Vatican in 1982. The nativity set will consist of larger than life-size contemporary ceramic statutes made by teachers and alumni of an art institute in the Italian region of Abruzzo in the 1960s and 1970s. That region has been famous since the 16th century for its ceramic sculptures. The figures are similar to ancient Sumerian and Greek art and are cylindrical because they are formed by overlapping rings. The Director of the Slovenian Government Communications Office said that the tree and the sculptures are an excellent opportunity to enhance Slovenia’s recognition in the world and to present the region as a green country. Only a few of the fragile 54 piece collection will be displayed in St. Peter’s Square; Mary, Joseph, Jesus the Child, the three Magi and an angel. Vatican officials said that “setting up of the traditional space dedicated to Christmas in St. Peter’s Square aims to be a sign of hope and faith for the whole world.” This year’s Christmas Masses will be celebrated by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Basilica before a very small group, but will be transmitted live from the Vatican News website.