A message of good news and great joy this Christmas from The Salvation Army leaders
For some of us, Christmas is marked by certain traditions. Maybe it is travelling to a favourite holiday destination or games of backyard cricket with family and friends. Perhaps your picture-perfect Christmas Day is having piles of presents under the tree or attending a local carols event. Like many Australians, you could find that Christmas this year may look a little different. Travel restrictions, financial hardship or a change to family dynamics may be altering your traditions or stealing your joy.
No matter how your Christmas will look this year, The Salvation Army has good news for you! We want to assure you that the heart and meaning of Christmas runs deeper than any tradition. The message of Christmas is timeless and has endured through many generations. So even though our year has seen anxiety, fear and hardship, there is hope and joy for all people this Christmas – and every day. It is found in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who came into the world to show us God’s love.
“God with us” gives us joy
Long ago, God sent his Son into the world as a baby. He was named Jesus or, Immanuel, which means “God with us”. Raised by his parents, Mary and Joseph, Jesus grew into a man and experienced life on Earth. He journeyed alongside people and felt pain, sadness, hunger, grief and loss. This empathy means he understands the struggles, worries and sorrow you have been through or are experiencing today. And he wants to walk alongside you. You don’t have to face any of your hardships alone.
Knowing we are never alone is a message of comfort – and joy! When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to a group of shepherds, he said: “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10, NLT). There is so much joy to be found in knowing Jesus.
The announcement to the shepherds also confirmed that this joy is not limited to a few “chosen” people, but it is available for “all people”. No matter who we are, God’s love is for everyone. History shows that shepherds were viewed as poor and societal outcasts, yet God chose them to be the first to visit his newborn son. The story of the Magi (commonly called “wise men”) visiting a newborn Jesus also demonstrated God’s love is not exclusive to social outcasts like the shepherds -- or Jewish people, for that matter. When the wealthy Magi came to present gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, the Bible says they travelled from “the east” (Matthew 2:1). All people, from all walks of life, are welcome to know the love of God and his gift of joy found in Jesus.
Alongside others this Christmas
This Christmas and every day, The Salvation Army is dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus by caring for people.
We want to encourage you to embrace this Christmas message of hope, comfort and joy, and join us in reaching out with care to others. We all know 2020 has been a rough year in so many ways. But we all have something to offer someone else to help brighten their day and spread some Christmas joy.
Over the past few months, we have seen Australians rally together in friendship and support during natural disasters. We’ve also seen Australians find innovative ways to connect with others and overcome isolation. We encourage you to continue to walk alongside your neighbours and friends. Look for ways to intentionally offer acts of kindness, compassion and generosity this Christmas.
Challenge yourself to offer a heartfelt “thank you” to the checkout operator who, behind closed doors, could be struggling to make ends meet. Offer a genuine greeting to your colleague on a video conference call who could be feeling lonely. Act out of compassion while parking at the shopping centre or driving in holiday traffic. Or perhaps you can be generous with your time as a volunteer through your local Salvo church or community centre.
But maybe you are the one struggling or who needs to experience a fresh feeling of comfort and joy. Whether you are lonely, facing financial hardship or need some support, we want to invite you to share Christmas with the Salvos this year.
From The Salvation Army to you, we wish you a Christmas filled with comfort, hope and joy
Commissioners Janine and Robert Donaldson
The Salvation Army Australia