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Message from the Secretariat

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O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.

We hear the carols all around us at this time of year. We sing them on Sundays during Advent. We know them well.

Yet, singing this particular carol last Sunday carried a new sense of meaning in our current context. The words written over 170 years ago, originally in French, still ring with truth in Australia today. 

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.

As Australians we realise that we have been given so many blessings. This Advent, we rejoice in our abundance. As we make our preparations for the Holy Season, arranging family meals and purchasing thoughtful but extravagant gifts, let us not forget to share our blessings with those who are not so fortunate.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

It is wonderful to have our Government lead by example and pass the new Modern Slavery Act legislation earlier this month. We know there is still more to achieve in this area.

We sing about a baby born in Bethlehem. ‘Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we.’ Yet Bethlehem now is unrecognisable as a city of joy. We pray for peace in the land where our Saviour was born. Born, not only to be our saviour, but also that of the outcasts and strangers.

We are commissioned to love one another, without condition. 'His law is love and His gospel is peace.' And just as we are commissioned to love one another, we are encouraged to continue working to bring peace to a world so desperately in need of hope.

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.

I cannot recall any other Christmas Hymn or carol that outlines the ministry of Jesus in such a way. Words that were written so many years ago have meaning today on our Australian context. A song that has been sung and recorded by so many, can still hold our attention with its gentle and soaring themes.

So, just as the wise men did long ago, trust that the journey we set out on this Christmas is filled with promise. That through our love and compassion, we can give hope and bring peace. As Christians, we know that there is a darkness in this world that only the light of Christ can illuminate.

Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

His power and glory evermore proclaim. 


Noelene Osora, Executive Assistant to the Interim General Secretary.