"Actions speak louder than words", goes the old saying. People sit up and pay attention when we make a choice and act on it, and they are often sceptical if we talk and talk but never actually get round to doing anything. This month in the Archdiocese we are pondering just what it is the Pope has asked us to do in the new millennium. We ask, as the people asked Saint Peter in Jerusalem, "What must we do?" (Acts 2: 37).
No doubt we have all experienced the euphoria of achieving some important goal, and then after the celebrations, the need to pick ourselves up and start again. Or perhaps the dull feeling of returning home from the annual holiday to face the laundry and the everyday timetable.
I extend a warm personal welcome to each of you tonight. Together we come to the crib filled with the wonder that our God became human and took on the weakness of our flesh. He is our Saviour. His whole life given offered for us gives us light and hope.
The events of this year show us how sorely we need that hope. We are invited to stand in awe at the crib, remembering that our God values us so highly that he entered fully into the darkness of this world to cast light and joy upon it.
In these last days before Christmas we watch with Mary who has the Saviour already in her womb. His arrival is imminent, God is with us and he invites us to open our hearts to him in the hope that only he can provide.