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Pope Francis observes the Nativity scene in 2013 (AP)

The boat ‘represents tradition’ as well as the reality of migrants crossing the Mediterranean

Pope Francis prays in front of a Nativity scene during a visit to the  Franciscan shrine in Greccio, Italy (CNS)

Francis made a surprise visit to the place where St Francis of Assisi created the world’s first Nativity scene

The Nativity of Christ by Russian painter Vladimir Borovikovsky (1757-1825)

Our Christmas can never be based on past memories alone. It must be for us, in our own day, a present work of the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis pictured at the Nativity scene in St Peter's Square last year (CNS)

The figures will be used in Nativity scenes across Italy this Christmas

The Nativity scene in St Peter's Square (CNS)

The way Vatican news is reported in the mainstream media has changed drastically since the arrival of Francis

The Passion of Jesus  performed by the Wintershall Players in Trafalgar Square (PA)

The Incarnation is drama in the true sense of the Greek word

Children at St Benedict's Catholic school in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. 'All the children are involved in the solemn enactment of something infinitely larger than them' (Photo: CNS)

The beauty lies in children stumbling through the extraordinary story of how God chose to enter the world

Archbishop Bernard Longley (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

Archbishop Longley, praising a Nativity exhibition, says story ‘needs to be retold’

Pope Francis gives a lamb a lift during a  visit to a Nativity scene at the Church of St Alfonso Maria dei Liguori Below: Francis chats to two children taking part in the nativity (CNS)

Pope visits live Nativity scene

Francis lets a lamb rest on his shoulders during visit to Rome church