Greetings All 

Just over two hundred years ago, the guns and canons of the Napoleonic wars fell silent in Europe.  Yet, in its wake, it left terrible destruction, famine and death.  Crops failed which increased the suffering and poverty of the people.

But in the silence of peace a light appeared in the darkness of Winter,  in the form of a hymn when in 1818, for the first time was sung, “Silent Night” composed by Franz Xaviour Gruber.

Yes, it was in the town of Oberndorf, near saltzburg, in Austria, that the words, “ silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright,” were sung for the first time, bringing the people and the incarnation of Christ close together.

A new found peace and hope was like a canopy over the little church and its people, preparing to celebrate the birthday of Christ.

Now, at five o’clock on Christmas Eve, every year, the town’s people gather to sing and to remind themselves of the presence of the baby of Bethlehem, bringing to mind once again that sacred moment of so many years ago, what is sacred to communities and which lifted their spirits from darkness to light.

Now, as once again the celebration of the birthday of Christ is upon us and in the quite moments we have in responding to the goodness of God, who gave us his only begotten Son, we too can cherish and go forward, fortified with the words of that great hymn “Silent Night”.

Once again, we have the opportunity to celebrate the birthday of Christ, the one who came among us with a mission of peace, light and hope.  It is through our communion with Christ that we are brought close together.  You will be remembered by me in the Celebration of the Eucharist on Christmas Eve, through which we can be of one mind, one heart, one spirit.