From the International Herald Tribune:
"Today many consider God irrelevant. Even believers sometimes seek tempting but illusory shortcuts to happiness. And yet perhaps even because of this confusion humanity seeks a savior, and awaits the coming of Christ," the pope said.
Although he warned against being distracted by what he called the "trappings of Christmas," Benedict offered thanks for the 33-meter (110-foot) Christmas tree set up in St. Peter's Square, and the one in his private apartment in the Vatican, both gifts from the mountains of Calabria in southern Italy.
He also encouraged the custom of setting up nativity scenes in the home.
"It is my hope that such an important element (of Christmas) not only part of our spirituality, but also of our culture and art continue to be a simple and eloquent way of remembering Christ."