Moderator's Christmas Message 2023 - Coming Home

12 Dec 2023 by Rev. Faaimata Havea Hiliau in: News

Recently I made a trip home to Griffith. I came home to share a message about Christmas, a message about hope.  

So where is home? Home could be a location in the Pacific. It could be in the heart of Sydney on Gadigal country, across the Riverina on Wiradjuri land or anywhere in NSW and the ACT. As we think about home, we think about family. I have been thinking a lot about my mother and father, my brothers and sisters, my nieces and nephews, my community and my people.  

I’ve been thinking about these strong bonds and what Christmas is calling us to consider. For in Jesus Christ we are told in the Emmanuel that God is with us. So perhaps home is not so much a place or a location, but a home is where we meet Christ in our struggles and in our joys. Christmas is about celebrating that Christ is born on to us, a gift to us, a gift to the world and the community. 

A community and a world that is grappling with war, climate change and cost of living pressures. How might we speak the peace of the gift of Christ to the world? How might we bring hope into that? How might we share love? And in doing so, we celebrate the joy of Christmas. Whether we live in a place of privilege or if we are struggling to put food on the table. 

Our message of Christmas is this. Wherever you are, Christ, the Emmanuel is with us, calling us, calling us to simply share out of our abundance the gift of Christ in all that we do and say. 


Reach out to your neighbours, your friends, people that you haven’t spoken to for a while. As we gather around for Christmas, whether it be having a cuppa under the tree as you finish labouring in the orchard, or whether it be in a fine dining restaurant, the contrast is that Christ, the Emmanuel, is with us in our home, with our family. 

Jesus is present and he’s a gift to the world. 

Being home stirred strong memories, memories of love, loss and lessons. Driving down the main street and past the housing commission home where I grew up, I remembered the good times, but also the challenges I faced as a child, teenager and as a young woman.  

Christmas is about a time where we remember our connection to the story and the family of God through Christ, Jesus. We hear the story of Mary and Joseph, and how they return home to be counted. We are told that they arrive and there is no place for them to stay. So they stay in the most humble places. 

Similar to a housing commission, it is here when the gift of the world is born, their son Jesus Christ, placed in a manger wrapped in a band of cloth. This story is powerful because it reminds us that our home and our family is connected to the Emmanuel for wherever we are in the world, the story of Jesus is a reminder of our hope that Christ is born on to the world. 

A gift to the world, a gift for us that we might consider this gift and question, how is it that we’re sharing hope with our community, whether it be our neighbours, our friends? 

So perhaps home is not so much a place but a home is where we meet Christ in our struggles and in our joys. Our message for Christmas is this. Wherever you are, Christ, the Emmanuel is with us.  

God bless. 

To download the Moderator’s Christmas Message and access other resources visit the Synod website.

Rev. Faaimata Havea Hiliau, Moderator of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT