My fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora.
I extend to you warm greetings at this very special time of year:
When families near and far gather to celebrate and share their experiences of the past year, in an atmosphere of joy, excitement and hope.
When neighbours come together in a spirit of friendliness, peace and unity.
When even nature conspire to give us good temperature and plants to reflect the season.
Of course, Christmas means different things to different people. For some, it is the prospect of financial gain from trade and commerce, for others, it is the excitement of the lights and festivities, while for others, it is the reunion with family, fellowship and meals that bear significance. For Christians, it is a reminder of God's grace given to us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Unfortunately however, in spite of the general feeling of goodwill at this time of year, there are persons among us who, for many reasons and circumstances, are unable to participate in any festivities or fellowship. Some are homeless, many without food, not sure of their next meal, several are separated from loved ones by death or distance, while others are facing daunting challenges.
As you celebrate with your family and friends this Christmas, I encourage you to remember those who are in need. Offer them some help and support where you can.
Despite our problems, there are many blessings for which we give thanks:
We were spared from major natural disasters this year.
The country is still weathering the challenges of the global economic meltdown
And we are experiencing a level of reduction in crime and violence.
With these blessings let us go through the season peacefully. Even though we are going through a general election cycle, let us make a deliberate effort this Christmas to re-establish bonds of love and understanding which have fuelled our deep sense of community. Let us do all we can to bring about healing, reconciliation, peace and unity as we pray and hope together, fortified by the achievements of the past and our abiding faith in the future.
Our experiences as a nation teach us that if we believe in ourselves and apply our intellect, creativity and talents to the challenges we face, there is no problem that is insurmountable and which we cannot overcome. Our achievements serve as a living testimony that there is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica.
My wife and I and our family wish for you and your family a Holiday Season overflowing with happiness. May your hearts be filled with peace and compassion.
Merry Christmas everyone!