Christmas 2015 – Called to be a Sign of Hope
The President of the Uniting Church in Australia Stuart McMillan has used his Christmas message to call on all Australians to be signs of hope for people suffering in the world.
Drawing on Matthew’s Gospel, Mr McMillan describes Jesus’ birth as a sign to Christians that God is at work in the world, walking with people, among us in our celebrations of life and in our suffering. Jesus is a sign of hope, and those of us who follow him are to be signs of that hope, bearers of light and love.
In his annual message Mr McMillan highlights the concern the Uniting Church has for people seeking refuge from violence in places like Iraq, Syria and South Sudan.
Refugees around the world “continue to face unbearable situations including – to our shame – in our Australian Government detention centres,” says Mr McMillan.
“As Christians, we are called to walk with, sit with, cry with, laugh with, work alongside and listen attentively to others in their times of need and celebration, just as Jesus did.”
The President of Australia’s third largest Christian denomination urges people of all faith and none to spare a thought or share a prayer for people who are suffering at home as well.
“Many of us have loved ones who are suffering in their own way – from mental or physical illness or disability. Many face troubled family situations. Some are suffering intolerance, towards their religion, race or sexual identity,” says Mr McMiIllan.
“While we often describe Christmas as a season of giving, there are so many who need to receive our love.
“One of the most important gifts you can give to another human being is to be present for them. In this they might sense they are not abandoned or alone, that they are truly loved,” says Mr McMillan.
The message has subtitles in Arabic, Chinese, Fijian, Indonesian, Korean, Samoan and Tongan.