Vatican Unveils Nativity Scene

(December 24, 2007)--The Vatican unveiled its life-sized nativity scene in St. Peter's Square on Monday, continuing the tradition inaugurated in 1982 by John Paul II and preserved by Pope Benedict XVI.

As a Vatican band played "Silent Night," officials unveiled the statues of Mary and Joseph, on a stage located next to the Vatican's giant, twinkling Christmas tree.

This year, the scene of Jesus' birth was depicted in a recreation of Joseph's Nazareth home rather than the traditional manger in Bethlehem.

Officials at the unveiling said the shift underscored the idea that Jesus was born not just in a single place, but everywhere and for everyone.

Four angels sculpted from wood and donated to the Holy Father by Mexico, watched over the newborn recalling at the same time the Virgin's annunciation and the speech with Joseph.

After the inauguration ceremony, Vatican officials started a vigil, which included Pope Benedict XVI lighting up a symbolic candle of peace on the windowsill of his private studio.

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