Pope talks of God's 'surprises' in Christmas radio message
Pope Benedict XVI will say that God is faithful to his promises but often surprises us by how he fulfils them, in a message for for BBC radio's "Thought for the Day" to be broadcast later Friday.
In a special event to mark Christmas Eve, Benedict recorded the message in Rome on Wednesday and his comments will go out in the slot during the corporation's flagship Today programme at 0745 GMT.
"I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season," the pope says in the broadcast, excerpts of which were carried on the BBC's website.
The pontiff is quoted as saying that Christmas recalls the time in history when the Israelites were waiting for the Messiah, whom they pictured as a great leader who would restore their freedom.
But God surprised them because it was Jesus, a child born in Bethlehem, who would become their saviour instead.
The broadcast comes three months after the 83-year-old Benedict visited Britain.
In the message, listeners will hear the pope say: "I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ."
© 2010 AFP