In his words before praying the midday Angelus today, Pope Benedict spoke about the occurrence of the feast of the Nativity a few days after the winter Solstice, which today marks the shortest day of the year. He quoted the liturgy that tells us that Christ, the Sun of life, "transfigures and lights up the universe in waiting." Mentioning the World Astronomy Year of 2009, he remembered his predecessors who were dedicated to the science of astronomy, and astronomy's functions in marking the time for prayer by the hour of the day. He then invited people to turn their attention to "Mary and Joseph, who await the birth
of Jesus, and let us learn from them the secret of recollection in
order to taste the joy of Christmas."
Full English translations are available at Zenit and Papa Ratzinger Forum. The Vatican Press Office's Daily Bulletin has the Italian original text. Asia News has an article with quotations. The USCCB offers today's readings for Mass.