Christian leaders around the country have wished the country and their congregations well this Christmas by sharing festive season messages.

Archbishop of Wellington, Cardinal John Dew, said the Christmas season invited reflection and action.

"The mercy of God calls us to repair relationships, forgive wrongs, and offer non-judgemental acceptance to others.

"It challenges us in this Christmas season to embrace 'even those who have made a shipwreck of their lives' (Amoris Laetitia 197) and extend love and support to them, particularly if they are family," Archbishop Dew said in a Christmas message posted to the church's website.

The Archbishop of Wellington, Cardinal John Dew, has wished people a happy Christmas and peace to all. Photo / NZH
The Archbishop of Wellington, Cardinal John Dew, has wished people a happy Christmas and peace to all. Photo / NZH

Christmas is a time to connect with others through cards, gifts a drink or a meal and should be a wonderful time for families, he said.

"Try again to connect with those whose acceptance matters to you, or if that is too daunting, reach out to "safe" people in the community whose acceptance can be certain because of what they do for others.

"Mary and Joseph experienced rejection as they sought safe shelter for the birth of Jesus, and they eventually found acceptance.

"God does not abandon us in our search for life-giving relationship."

Vicar General Diocese of Auckland, Monsignor Bernard Kiely, posted a message to their website wishing people a happy Christmas and peace to all.

And earlier in the festive season, the Auckland Anglican Diocese choir shared the Christmas spirit by a making a music video to Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Dressed in long red robes, the choir skips and sings through the grounds of the Holy Trinity Cathedral and on the streets of Parnell.

Choir Christmas Video from Anglican Diocese of Auckland on Vimeo.


Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Richard Dawson, said in spite of the "rampant consumerism" and the "cheap expression" of consideration, presents were still a great way to remind others they're important.

"To have something handed to you that someone else has bought or made with you in mind, and having thought about what might bring you some joy is - let's face it - just really nice.

"And that sense of being considered is multiplied if the gift is something appropriate, something you really like and something which has clearly been given some thought.

"And there, for me at least, lies the rub."

However, there are situations which could not be dealt with by giving someone a present.

"I cannot help but think now of all the people in North Canterbury and around Kaikoura who are isolated and dealing with these kind of issues. I know that Christmas this year will be very difficult for them.

"Giving towards their great need will make some difference, but for those facing the loss of their livelihood, way of life, income, homes and, for some, their loved ones - presents simply won't help."

"What will make a difference, however, is the sense that they are being heard in all of their grief and loss - that someone is on the journey with them and that they are not alone."

Dawson said he believed our greatest gist was to address others' loneliness in any way we can.

"So this year as you consider your gift giving, think about how the simple act of offering a listening ear, sharing a thoughtfully considered gift, or simply being there can make someone feel wanted, loved and cherished.

"Gifts don't need to be expensive, nor do they need to be tangible to bring joy to the gift giver, the recipient and God."