The ACT's church leaders have called on all Canberrans to remember the lonely, the outcast, the defenceless and the vulnerable this Christmas.
"The recent Australia Talks survey found that almost half of Australians experience loneliness," Diocesan Bishop Mark Short, the Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn said.
"Contrary to popular expectation some of the loneliest Australians are not older people living in remote locations but younger people living in inner city suburbs."
Bishop Short said people need to be "generous hosts and gracious guests".
"Generous hosts create comfortable space for people to connect... gracious guests enter unfamiliar space for for the sake of connecting with others.
"The amazing news of Christmas is this; God becomes our gracious guest for a time so that he might be our generous host for eternity".
Archbishop Christopher Prowse, the Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, said Christmas was a difficult time for the outcast and the defenceless members of society.
"Many of those on the periphery of life find they are totally defenceless regarding their need of the basic necessities of life, things you and I take for granted at Christmas time," he said. "Let us be extra sensitive to their needs."
Archbishop Prowse said defencelessness could be a good thing when it referred to dropping our guard and taking the trouble to understand what other people were trying to say however.
"We become defenceless when we listen really carefully to others rather than talking," he said. "Let us become conscious of listening and building bridges by becoming vulnerable and defenceless in the face of everyday family challenges".
Dr John Williams, the co-chair of the Canberra Region Presbytery of the Uniting Church, said it was important for people to remember that regardless of the challenges they faced as individuals and as part of a society they were supported by a loving God.
"If, at Christmas, we look into the manger and see only the historical Jesus, a baby born in a far-off place over 2000 years ago, then we have missed the point," he said.
"In the midst of Advent this year we see hot, very dry, conditions, water shortages, bushfires, smoke pollution and ash falling from the sky. (Is this) An apocalyptic vision of what is in store for the now not so lucky country?"
Dr Williams said Australia, like the rest of the world, was at a crossroads.
"Australians are faced with the huge transformation to address moving from a fossil-fuelled economy to one which isn't," he said.
"The science of climate change demands that we do this. Our economic, social and environmental futures are so much brighter as we transform to new opportunities as described by Ross Garnaut in his new book Superpower: Australia's Low Carbon Economy.
"He writes that "the fog of Australian politics on climate change has obscured a fateful reality: Australia has the potential to be an economic superpower of the future post-carbon world".
Dr Williams said if Australians were to follow Jesus as God's chosen agent of liberation they needed to be prepared to confront oppression and injustice and to press for reform "in all that hurts God's creation".