The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has spoken about loneliness and isolation in his Christmas message, saying that ‘God with us’ is one of the key themes of Christmas.
“There is nothing more tragic and heart-rending than learning that in the recent bushfires some people were isolated and had to face the onslaught of fire all alone,” the Archbishop said.
Dr Davies leads the largest Anglican Diocese in Australia and recorded his message as Christians and churches readied for Christmas services amid drought and bushfire, even in districts surrounding the Sydney metropolitan area.
Churches around the Wollondilly Shire, southwest of Sydney, cancelled services as residents battled to save their homes. Some villages in the South West and in the Blue Mountains were surrounded by fire as mega-fires swept through. The fires continued as Christmas approached.
“When we face difficulties – it is all the more distressing to be by ourselves. We long for the comfort of having someone with us. Firefighters are always a welcome sight - they bring help and hope, and God bless them! But God is the best companion of all – even as we face pain and loss.”
“The Bible tells us that the birth of Jesus was predicted centuries beforehand – it said he would be Immanuel - which means 'God with us'. Jesus promises that when you receive him - he will never leave you. No trouble, bushfire or any other event can separate us from the love and comfort of God in Jesus.”
Dr Davies finished his message with a plea for people to remember that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus – God with us.
“Christmas brings people together, but its greatest joy is that it brings people together with God. Why not let Christmas bring you together with Jesus, our Immanuel, who promises you will never be alone - even in the toughest of times.”