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There’s more than one man behind Christmas

Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown a Saviour was born for you.  He is Christ the Lord.  (Luke 2:10-11 Contemporary English Version)

The team at Journey and the Uniting Church Queensland Synod wish you all the blessings of God’s great generosity shown to us in the gift of Jesus Christ.

We hope that this Christmas you might see beyond the man in the red suit to the faithfulness of a God who entered our humanity to demonstrate the depth and breadth of God’s eternal and constant love.

We pray that the joy and peace you experience this Christmas will last all year as you seek to worship Christ, witness to God’s love, and serve with hope and confidence. 


Dear Friends in Christ,

Most people associate Christmas with family. Christmas is that special time when families gather to celebrate and exchange gifts. It is an opportunity for remembering, telling stories and having fun together.

It is important, therefore, at this Christmas time, that we remember those who have no family, those who will spend Christmas alone, those who have no-one to who cares about them, and those who just can’t afford to make Christmas different to any other day of the year. Let us actively seek ways in which we can help make the day special for them as it is for us.

Christmas also reminds us that we belong to a worldwide family. Christmas is celebrated all around the world as a season of goodwill, reconciliation and peace. So we think of those who live in places where conflict is an every-day reality and we pray that this will be the Christmas when they know real peace at last.

We need to remember that Christmas began with a family … Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Through that first Christmas God’s love was made known through a little child and the eternal message of peace on earth and goodwill to all people was heard for the first time. We can do our part, where we are, to make God’s good intention for our world a reality.

May God bless you and all those you love. Have a very happy Christmas!

Rev Dr David Pitman, Moderator, Queensland Synod, Uniting Church in Australia


One of the best features of the Uniting Church is that we are very much a peace-making church. That’s the way it should be!

When John the Baptist’s father sang God’s praises at the news of Mary’s pregnancy he declared that Jesus was coming “to guide our feet into the way of peace”. When the angels sang at Jesus’ birth their message was “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace, good will among people”.

Earlier this month I spent ten days in Palestine and Israel, as part of an official Australian Church Leaders visit. Much of that visit was distressing; there is much fear, anxiety and suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians. The hopes for peace are fragile indeed.

For Israelis, the suffering comes from suicide bombers and other acts of terror. While terrorist attacks have reduced in the past year, the people of Israel still have a well-founded fear of life-threatening calamity striking them without warning. And they are surrounded in the Middle East by nations that make no secret of their enmity towards them.

For Palestinians, the suffering from 40 years of occupation is immense. Life in the West Bank is very difficult. Unemployment is rife. Some 50% of the population is in poverty. Food parcels still have to be distributed in refugee camps, where thousands of families have lived for 60 years.

The heavy restrictions placed on Palestinians by the occupation seem to be counter-productive. They may be a justified response to terrorist attacks, but the daily harassments and difficulties deepen the enmity; they do not make for peace.

For instance, did you know that 15 year-olds are locked up in prison for six months for throwing stones at military watch-towers? Did you know that Israel is building a segregated road system in the West Bank, so that Israelis and Palestinians won’t have to travel on the same roads? Did you know there are 90 military checkpoints and 562 other obstacles (trenches, roadblocks, etc.) placed on the roads in the West Bank? It’s hard to see how Palestine can develop a sustainable economy, let alone form a viable state.

Over the next months we Australians who participated in the visit will be working for peace in the Holy Land. We will make representations to the Australian Government, the Israeli embassy, the Palestinian representative and the Jewish community in Australia, all aimed at promoting a just and lasting peace for the people of Israel and Palestine.

Advocacy is one way in which the Uniting Church seeks to make peace. In the past year we have advocated strongly on many situations of conflict and need – for Aboriginal reconciliation, for the Australia Fair campaign, for inter-faith harmony, for action on climate change, for the rights of workers, for a fairer tax system, to name a few.

As a church we are also involved every day in hands-on action for peace – in our pastoral care for people in need, in our chaplaincy ministries, in our vast UnitingCare community services work, in our Congress and Frontier Services ministries in the outback, in our international partnerships and our overseas aid programs, and in our prayers for peace in God’s world.

Christmas is a time for making peace and celebrating God’s gift of peace in Jesus. Through Jesus, God has gifted us with reconciliation – with God, with ourselves, with people of every nation and race, with God’s creation. Let us claim these gifts of peace afresh this Christmas, and let us continue strongly as a peace-making church!

Rev. Gregor Henderson, President, Uniting Church in Australia