Pope Benedict: God Is Full of SurprisesWorld | December 24, 2010, Friday // 18:50| views
Pope Benedict XVI said he prayed for the sick and elderly and "those who are going through any form of hardship". Photo by EPA/BGNES
God is faithful to his promises but often surprises us by how he fulfills them, Pope Benedict said in his first BBC radio broadcast.
The Pope's Christmas message for the UK was broadcast as the Thought for the Day on Radio 4's Today program, BBC reports Friday.
It was the first time that the Pontiff has addressed a Christmas message especially for one of the countries he has visited during the year but the British National Secular Society criticized the BBC's decision to broadcast it.
In his message, the Pope recalled his recent UK visit with "great fondness" and said he was glad to greet listeners again.
Benedict said he prayed for the sick and elderly and "those who are going through any form of hardship".
"Dear friends from Scotland, England and Wales and indeed every part of the English speaking world, I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this holy season. I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick, and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time. At the Christmas season our thoughts recall a moment in history when the Israelites were waiting for the Messiah whom they pictured as a great leader who would restore their freedom," Pope Benedict said.
"The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place - he was to be the savior of all people throughout the world and throughout history. It was not a political liberation, achieved through military means, he added, but rather "Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the cross," the Pope went on.
Benedict urged people to ask Jesus Christ to expel any darkness they have in their lives and added: "Let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us, and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down; he gives us hope, he brings us life."
Negotiations between the BBC and the Vatican went on for many months to enable the recording to take place, BBC informs.