25th December,2014 :Â
Leaders have used their Christmas addresses to call for peace and kindness after a tough year.
Sydney’s Catholic leader, Archbishop Anthony Fisher and the Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies, who both led a memorial service for the victims of the Martin Place siege just last week, urged people to find comfort in the hope of Christmas.
“Sydney has said this week, loud and clear: violence is not the last word. Life and love are more powerful than death. We will not let this undermine harmony in our common life,” Mr Fisher said.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and wife Margie spoke of the armed services, farmers in drought, and families of the siege victims in their Christmas video.
“The last fortnight has been a heartbreaking time for our country. The thoughts and prayers of everyone are with those who are grieving this Christmas,” Mr Abbott said.
Global catholic leader Pope Francis used his Christmas Eve address to call for kindness in a broken world.
“Do we have the courage to welcome with tenderness the difficulties and problems of those who are near to us. Or do we prefer impersonal solutions, perhaps effective but devoid of the warmth of the gospel? How much the world needs tenderness today,” said the Pope.
Shortly before his address to 5,000 people gathered at St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope had called a refugee camp at Ankawa, Iraq to speak with Christian refugees about to celebrate one of Christianity’s holiest days.
“You are like Jesus on Christmas night. There was no room for him either, and he had to flee to Egypt to save himself,” he said.
Queen Elizabeth II used her Christmas message to encourage reconciliation, and thank those battling the Ebola virus.
“I have been deeply touched this year by the selflessness of aid workers and medical volunteers who have gone abroad to help victims of conflict or of diseases like Ebola, often at great personal risk.”
This year marks the 100 year anniversary of a Christmas eve truce between allied forces and the German armies. The Queen paid tribute to the thousands of British soldiers who have died in their many wars.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald