Pope Francis' Christmas Card: Why It Contains 2 Images of Baby Jesus

Italian artist Giotto’s 14th century fresco of the Nativity in Assisi.(Wikipedia/Giotto)

For the past three years, Pope Francis has personally hand-picked his Christmas card to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This year, the card he chose is special since it featured two baby Jesuses.

The image he chose is the artwork made by Giotto di Bondone, which is a 14th-century fresco of the nativity in Assisi. For the pope's card, the image is accompanied by a verse from the book of Isaiah.

The card shows typical images found in a nativity scene, such as shepherds, angels, and animals, according to the National Catholic Register. It also shows the Virgin Mary cradling the baby Jesus.

But this particular image stands out because there's a midwife holding another baby Jesus.

Enzo Fortunato, press officer of the Sacred Convent of Assisi, said the two baby Jesuses are meant to exhibit both the human and divine nature of Christ.

"The first is represented by the two midwives who are located next to one of the baby Jesuses, embracing, wrapping and supporting him," he explained. The embrace is symbolic because it means Jesus has been deemed as "a part of the humanity to which we belong."

As for the swaddling clothes, he said these point out "the need to alleviate the suffering of others." The image of breastfeeding signifies alleviation from hunger, while the suffering of the cold shows how Jesus had been "forced to leave His native home."

Fortunato is not surprised the pope selected the image, saying it is relevant in today's society, what with migrants in need of new homes. Through this Christmas card, the pope is expressing his unity to those who have been marginalised.

"It's really here where we are called to perceive, through our gestures, God with us. It's Christmas," wrote Fortunato. "And it's these peripheries through which the pope would like the fresco to help man to become aware of God through the gestures of everyday life."