By Andrew Hiller, CEO, Devonport Chaplaincy

An experience etched forever in my memory took place about four years ago when I walked into the school principal’s office just before Christmas. We were talking about the year that was, and the year to come. In our conversation, I asked what practical projects we could help out with as a church community.

Were there any classrooms we could fix up?

Urgently needed equipment we could buy as a Christmas gift to the school community?

The response was simple and challenging. Pinching her own arm, she simply said: “Give us presents that bleed. We need more people that care; give us more mentors, more chaplains. That's the best 'presence' you could ever give us.”

Even though I have always tried to place high importance on the value of meaningful and life-giving relationships, this comment realigned my thinking forever. As I have commented previously, if it doesn't have a high R value (relationship), I must carefully consider the time and investment I make.

The best thing we can do this Christmas is be present. Be present with those around us, our family, friends and neighbours. Furthermore, take time to seek out those that don't have others around—the disengaged, lonely and those doing it tough.

As I look forward to 2021 after a very challenging year, I appeal to you today to consider how you can support Tasmanians doing it tough. Through Devonport Chaplaincy you can help.

Help chaplaincy to continue

Your donation will help to support our chaplains as they support many anxious and struggling young people back into another school year, ensuring they know and experience real hope for the future. Or, please consider volunteering as a mentor yourself. You personally can be the best present ever to another person by giving the gift of your time.

The great news of Christmas is that even when our celebrations may look different this year than in the past—the message of Christmas is timeless. Because Christmas is about the birth of God’s Son – Jesus. It is about how he came to give us love, hope and joy. That message doesn’t change from year to year. In a year of so much bad news and devastation, this is good news worth celebrating!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!