The Christmas message from the Archbishop of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, has highlighted the difficulties of 2023, from international conflict to the rising cost of living.

“The beginning of this year seemed to offer a ‘fresh start’ as we came out of COVID,” the Archbishop said in his video message. “Yet, as 2023 unfolded, the cost of living rose beyond the means of many, we witnessed with grief and horror, man-made calamity in war and conflict, as well as natural disasters, tragic accidents, and terrible crimes.”

The Archbishop’s message, his third since being chosen in 2021, gives a Christian response to national and international events. (see text)

“What can we say when people come face to face with evil? How can we make sense of this desperate world? We need a word from God, which is exactly what Christmas is,” the Archbishop said. “God has spoken through his Son, Jesus. The Bible describes Jesus as the Word of God – he is God’s word to us in good times and in bad.”

Archbishop Raffel said that although rising costs may have forced a stripped-down Christmas this year, the simple message of Christmas was “so simple a child can believe and yet so substantial that its wonders and glories can fill our hearts and sustain us through life's challenges.”

“At its heart the message of Christmas is nothing other than Jesus, and nothing better than Jesus.”