Christmas is a time of celebration, a chance to spend time with family and loved ones and extend kindness to others. For Christians, Christmas is one of the most important holidays of the year and is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
It is also a time of spiritual reflection on the important foundations of the Christian faith, and many churches will have special programs throughout December.
In her 2020 Christmas message Dr Deidre Palmer, who was president of the Uniting Church in Australia, said, "As we approach this Christmas what matters most is not the gifts, the decorations or even the Christmas carols that we so enjoy, what matters most is the love we share with each other, the friendship and community that gives us life. The central message of Christmas is that we are loved. We are loved by the God who comes to us in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ who lights up our lives and world with a message of peace, love and hope."
Christmas is a time for generosity to others less fortunate than ourselves. Here are just a few suggestions.
Make a toy donation
The Smith Family's Toy and Book Appeal helps children who may otherwise miss out on opening a gift simply because their families can't afford it.
This year a digital gift voucher will be provided to every child who would ordinarily receive a gift pack so that they can participate in the joys of Christmas.
Find out more at thesmithfamily.com.au/donate/give/toy-and-book-appeal.
The Save the Children online shop is where you can give a family the gift of a flock of chickens or buy a bicycle to help a health worker provide life-saving support. Your contribution will help disadvantaged children around the world to grow up safe, healthy and educated, and provide them with life-saving support during emergencies.
Find out more at shop.savethechildren.org.au.
Barnardos is hoping to receive 10,000 presents for the children in their programs, some of whom have experienced abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness and do not usually get the chance to receive Christmas gifts.
Your gift donation will give a disadvantaged child the opportunity to open a present on Christmas Day.
Just pick a gift online or donate. Find out more at barnardos.org.au/get-involved/gift-for-kids.
Songs for Koalas
Help a koala this Christmas without spending anything. One of the supporters of The Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) has put together a free playlist of essential Christmas songs, including an original song called The Lights of Christmas.
Every listen to that song earns a small royalty, and the owner is donating the total amount of royalties to AKF.
So for some Christmas tunes, go to Spotify and search for The Australian Koala Foundation.