Australians should keep the real meaning of Christmas alive

( [email protected] ) Dec 04, 2003 09:19 AM EST

The Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Gary Hardgrave, has reminded Australians that while it is important to join in celebrating the festivals of other cultures, Christians should put the "Christ back into Christmas".

"Some Australians may be missing out on the core traditions of Christmas because many people are less inclined to express the traditional customs for fear of offending people of other religions," Mr Hardgrave said.

"I would hate to see people, especially young children, giving up Christmas traditions that have been with their families for generations."

"Many kindergartens, schools and businesses have decided they have to ban things because they might offend others. While well motivated, these people have it completely wrong."

The Minister said that while Australians now openly celebrate other festivals such as the Muslim festival of Eid at the end of Ramadan and the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, no-one should suspect it is at the expense of our core Christian roots.

"The great success of Australian Multiculturalism has been built upon a Western Christian society and no-one is asked to give that up," Mr Hardgrave said.

"Christmas is a time for people to get together, a time to care and think about others. All of the great organised religions of the world have at their heart a sense of concern and care for others, a strong sense of family and community which is what Christmas ultimately is all about."