Christmas reflection: Behold the 'Bambino Saviour', born to be God with us
FOR centuries people have been climbing the steep steps to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Campidoglio, Rome.
Among its treasures is a two-foot image of the Child Jesus - apparently carved by a Franciscan friar out of a single piece of olive wood from the Garden of Gethsemane.
At Christmas time letters of petition are sent from all over the world addressed simply to 'Il Bambino, Rome'.
For generations the little statue was also taken to the bedside of sick people, believing it to have miraculous powers.
The real miracle, of course, is that God chose to become a little child in the first place - our 'Bambino Saviour', so tiny, so vulnerable; True God and True Man; the Infant King of Love.
Perhaps a 'happy fault' of the Covid-19 restrictions is the way it has opened up more time and space for contemplation.
Take some time during these Christmas days to reflect upon the unfathomable mystery of 'God with us', to marvel at the 'great and mighty wonder' that is the Christ-child, born to be our Saviour.
Archbishop Eamon Martin
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland