Christmas is a joyful and loving time when we welcome home far flung family and friends, and relax and reminisce with those closest to us.
It is also a time for reflection, and thanking those who have served us and protected us throughout the year – many of whom won’t be home to spend Christmas with their family and close friends.
In particular, we thank the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who are serving overseas this Christmas, as well as our Police, security, emergency and firefighting services who will be keeping us safe on Christmas Day just as they do every day.
We should also think of those less fortunate this Christmas. Poverty, loneliness, illness, the loss of loved ones – these shadows hang heavier at Christmas.
We can lift some of those shadows by sharing our love with others – beyond our family and close friends.
If you can donate time or money, charities like the Wayside Chapel, the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society, Meals on Wheels and Black Dog Institute among others do wonderful work all year, and especially at Christmas.
I have been meeting here at North Bondi RSL this morning with some of our veterans including the founder of Soldier On, John Bale. They do a great job helping the Anzacs of today recover from injuries and transition successfully to civilian life. You can donate to Soldier On too by visiting their website – www.soldieron.org.au
From Lucy and me, and our family, to you and yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a relaxing and safe holiday and a 2016 filled with peace, happiness and love.