He emphasised the importance of peace and security at a time when millions had been forced to flee the fighting in Syria while Christians in some parts of the world lived in fear of persecution.
“That is what we mark today as we celebrate the birth of God’s only son, Jesus Christ — the Prince of Peace,” he said.
“As a Christian country, we must remember what his birth represents: Peace, mercy, goodwill, and, above all, hope.
“I believe that we should also reflect on the fact that it is because of these important religious roots and Christian values that Britain has been such a successful home to people of all faiths and none.”
He said it was a time to remember people who would not be spending the festive season in a home that was safe with their family around them.
“Millions of families are spending this winter in refugee camps or makeshift shelters across Syria and the Middle East, driven from their homes by Daesh and Assad.
“Christians from Africa to Asia will go to church on Christmas morning full of joy, but many in fear of persecution.
"Throughout the United Kingdom, some will spend the festive period ill, homeless or alone,” he said.