Prime MInister Malcolm Turnbull has urged the nation to delight in the mystery and joy of Christmas in his festive season message to Australians.
In his annual message, Turnbull said Christmas was a time that brought people "to the very best we can be" irrespective of race, creed or colour.
He said while December 25 marked the birth of Jesus on the Christian calendar, all Australians shared the message of unconditional love.
"Christmas is a time of love. The embrace of our family, old friendships refound, the delight of children, the mystery and joy of the divine -- surely this is a wondrous time of year," Turnbull said.
"Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus - and his message of unconditional love and sacrifice. Whether we are of any faith, or of none, it is love -- forgiving, generous, never judging, unconditional, that brings us closest to the very best we can be.
"In Australia, we have much to be grateful, not least that so many people of so many different backgrounds, races and religions live together here in a harmony founded on mutual respect."
The Prime Minister said it was also important to remember those who find Christmas difficult such as the lonely, the poor, the sick, and those who are away from families.
He urged Australians to reach out to vulnerable members of the community and to remember charities that help the homeless and others "whose Christmas is not as joyous as our own".
"Our emergency services personnel, the police, fire and ambulance services, our doctors and nurses keep working while most of us relax," Turnbull added.
"We can make it easier for them and safer for us by driving carefully, preparing for the bushfire and cyclone season, if we live in those areas, and by taking good care of each other."Suggest a correction