If there's one overwhelming feeling we have this Christmas, I think it's one of thankfulness, a sense of gratitude.
This year has not been easy for any of us.
Some of us have faced the loss of loved ones. Others, the loss of jobs and their livelihoods. Separation from family. Isolation during lockdowns and lost gatherings with those we love.
For all of us this year has been a time of stress and a lot of uncertainty.
Yet through it all, once again, we have rallied to each other, together.
Australians are an amazing people with an amazing spirit. And this year the Australian spirit has shone brightly again.
Though we had to be distant socially, emotionally we connected and turned to each other.
There were the firefighters and volunteers who got us through the Black Summer.
The doctors and nurses, the researchers and scientists doing their utmost to protect and care for us throughout this pandemic.
Retail workers kept the supply chains open.
Volunteers made sure that no one was left behind or left without.
Public servants out there providing support to people all over the country.
Everyone playing their part.
And even now up in Sydney, on the Northern Beaches, everyone is still there doing their bit to keep all of us safe right across the country.
So no matter where you are in Australia, this Christmas I think is one where, as Australians, we can once again count our blessings as a country.
And in our very Australian way, resolve once again to share those blessings with others wherever we can.
So we give thanks this year for our Christmas because our blessings outweigh our struggles.
It is the tradition of these messages to give a shout out to a group at Christmas who have done so much.
So I do want to thank and honour all our older Australians in aged care and their carers.
They have really endured a lot this year with visits limited and the loss of hugs and kisses and visits from the company of family. It's been terribly hard.
This year we saw you draw on that well of strength that you have displayed over your entire lifetime. And in doing so, you kept others safe.
For all of us, those who are Christian and those who are not, this Christmas is again a time of great hope.
And my prayer for Australia this Christmas comes from the great verse: "Let us not grow weary of doing good. For in due season we shall reap a harvest, if we do not give up."
So stay safe. Stay COVIDSafe.
May God bless you and your family at this Christmas.
Merry Christmas, Australia.