Vatican City, Dec 16, 2003 / 22:00 pm
Pope John Paul II skipped his regular comments on the psalms and canticles of Vespers to focus the last general audience of the year on an encouraging message of Christian hope for Advent and Christmas.
Since the last two Wednesdays of the year will coincide with Christmas eve and New Year’s day, the next regular general audience will take place on January 7, 2004.
Speaking about “An Advent of Hope,” before some 10,000 pilgrims, the Pontiff said, “Advent keeps alive the wait for Christ who will come to visit us with His salvation, fully realizing His kingdom of justice and peace.”
“The annual commemoration of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem,” he continued, “renews in the hearts of believers the certainty that God keeps faithful to His promises. Therefore, Advent is a powerful proclamation of hope that touches our personal and common experience deeply.”