Tim Farron has urged people roll up their sleeves and help others in his first Christmas message as Liberal Democrat leader.
Mr Farron said the Christmas period should be about more than having a “sense of festive warmth among others”.
The Liberal Democrat is a devout Christian and there was a significant religious theme to the message as he described the Christmas story as “about a God who brings hope to a dark world. About a God who became utterly human.”
He also draws comparisons between the experience of Jesus and the plight currently faced by refugees who have fled war zones and headed to Europe this year.
Closer to home, he drew attention to the number of people spending Christmas homeless and those in his Cumbrian constituency forced out of their homes by the recent floods.
Mr Farron said: “There are many people with no place to call home for whom this Christmas will be filled with fear and despair, rather than hope. Hope is called the anchor of the soul, because it gives stability to life.
“The Christmas story, to me, is about a God who brings hope to a dark world. About a God who became utterly human. Indeed who became a refugee child.
“There will be many people of all faiths and none this Christmas who will be giving up their time to help others, whether the homeless or refugees.
“They are demonstrating practically what it means to be people of hope. Many more invest their lives in standing up against injustice wherever it may be found, and campaign for change through social and political action.”
Mr Farron said he wanted to thank those “working to transform the lives of those with no safe place to call home”.
He added: “But no matter what our faith, or values or beliefs are, my hope this Christmas is that we are all inspired to look outwards and upwards, as we seek to make our country a compassionate, liberal and welcoming one.
“Our values of social justice, love and community are shared by millions. This Christmas we have so much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to.
“Good will to all mankind for us means more than just feeling a sense of festive warmth towards others - it means rolling up our sleeves to make lives better in practice.
“To consider others needs and to meet them, to put others before ourselves.”