VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis says the Christmas season provides reason for hope amid the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic. During his Sunday blessing, Francis noted that the Vatican’s Christmas tree had gone up last week in St. Peter’s Square, and that work is underway to build the life-size Nativity scene next to it.

Pope Francis, framed by a Christmas tree, waves as he arrives to recite the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Dec. 6, 2020. (Andrew Medichini/Associated Press)

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