Pope Francis greets children after delivering his Christmas wishes to Vatican employees and their families during a special audience Dec. 21 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — “Today, the Son of God is born, and everything changes,” Pope Francis said in a 2016 Christmas midnight Mass homily.

“Today we once more discover who we are! Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end,” he said, and “we must set out to see our savior lying in a manger.”

The reason for our joy: “This child has been ‘born to us’; He was ‘given to us,’” Pope Francis explained, quoting the prophet Isaiah.

And now, 2,000 years later, “every man and woman” has been given the mission of making “the Prince of Peace” known and of “becoming His effective servant in the midst of the nations,” he said.

“We must not be laggards,” the pope cautioned, “we are not permitted to stand idle.”

And when we hear of the birth of the Prince of Peace, he said, “let us be silent and let the Child speak. Let us take His words to heart in rapt contemplation of His face. If we take Him in our arms and let ourselves be embraced by Him, He will bring us unending peace of heart,” he said.

“This Child teaches us what is truly essential in our lives,” Pope Francis said.

Twelve days later, on the feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6, 2017, Pope Francis said that an inner restlessness guided the Magi on their way to meet Christ.

“They could see what the heavens were showing them,” he said, and “they were open to something new.”

The Magi personify all believers, the pope said, everyone who longs for God.

“Believers who feel this longing are led by faith to seek God, as the Magi did, in the most distant corners of history, for they know that there the Lord awaits them. They go to the peripheries, to the frontiers, to the places not yet evangelized, to encounter their Lord,” Pope Francis said.

Like the Magi, we, too, want to worship, the pope said. King Herod was incapable of worshiping the Christ Child because “he did not want to stop worshiping himself” and “would not change his own way of looking at things.”

The Magi followed their longing and had the courage to set out, and so were able to worship, the pope said.