Pope Benedict XVI lamented the commercialization of Christmas during the traditional Christmas Eve Mass at St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
“Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God’s humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity,” he said, Euronews reported.
He went on to urge worshippers to "see through the superficial glitter of this season" and to discover its true meaning, "the child in the stable in Bethlehem," according to the BBC.
The Associated Press writes that the 84-year-old pontiff presided over a packed service at St. Peter's Basilica ahead of "an intense two weeks of Christmas-related public appearances" that will test his stamina "amid signs that fatigue is starting to slow him down."
Benedict appeared tired by the end of the Mass and a dry cough interrupted his homily.
The pontiff usually delivers his annual Urbi et Orbi (To the City and the World) speech just a few hours after the Christmas Eve Mass.
The Mass was moved up to 10 p.m. from midnight several years ago to spare him a late night, The Telegraph reported.
Benedict has been increasingly vocal in his concerns over commercialism. In an end-of-year meeting with Vatican officials Thursday, he said Europe's financial crisis was "based on the ethical crisis looming over the Old Continent, " The Telegraph added.