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"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord."

On this blessed Christmas Day, I greet you as we pause to reflect on our Saviour, whose humble birth we celebrate today.

My Fellow Jamaicans, 2011 has been a very challenging year for the Jamaican Family. However, as a people we triumphed over many hurdles but we are thankful for the blessings: of life, health, family, friends and of our communities.

At this time of the year, many look forward to celebrating Christmas. It is a time when families and friends reunite, it is also a time of retrospection, reflection and hope.

Christmas celebrations this year however,  are different from that to

which we are accustomed. This comes on the verge of our 50th anniversary as an independent nation, and as a people we are about to participate in our 16th general election.

It is in this context that I implore you, members of the Jamaican Family, to unite in celebrating the One who is the true Reason for the Season. We cannot allow our different beliefs to tear our beloved country apart.

As Marcus Mosiah told us in his Christmas Message of 1921 [And I quote]

“On this Christmas morn, may we not – all members of the great human family – forget our differences, and in one glorious chorus sing ‘peace perfect peace?’”

Remember, this period will soon be over, but our relationship with each other will last a very long time.  Let us cherish those relationships.   I urge all of us, as true Jamaicans, to ensure that the spirit of love and unity which is the embodiment of Christmas transcend our political differences.

For us in Jamaica, as for others around the world, Christmas has come to mean a time of sharing, of love, of laughter, and of merriment.  In children, it evokes a spirit of innocent anticipation.

It is one of those moments in our lives when we forget, as much as possible, the challenges of the year now coming to a close.

At Christmas, family and friendship are foremost in our minds and in our hearts.

It is a time too, for remembering the less fortunate among us: The marginalised, the poor, our senior citizens and the indigent. Let us remember our children and seek to put a glimmer in their eyes and a smile on their lips.  We should also remember the wards of the State – persons who are in institutions of care and rehabilitation.

At times of economic crisis, as we are now experiencing in Jamaica, it becomes even more important that we engender a spirit of generosity.

May the joy of giving and the virtue of sharing fill our hearts and our souls this Christmas.  If you do not have tangible gifts to give, then let us share the gifts of respect, of courtesy and of love.

Economic challenges have never been able to break the fortitude of the Jamaican people, and they certainly will not do so now. We know that challenges abound, but the radiant rays of the sun continue to shine. Jamaica land we love is fertile, bountiful and beautiful, and our people resilient and strong.

I welcome home Jamaicans who would not miss the opportunity to visit the “Rock” and to be with their loved ones at this time.

To our visitors who are vacationing in our brilliant sunshine and savouring our delightful hospitality, I wish for you a ‘truly Jamaican’ Christmas.

So, my fellow Jamaicans here at home and in the Diaspora, I wish for you a blessed Christmas and hope that your holidays will be peaceful, joyous and safe. 

“For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above

While mortals sleep, the angels keep

Their watch of wondering love.

O morning stars together, proclaim the Holy Birth

And praises sing to God our King

And peace to men on earth”

May God bless you all and bless Jamaica Land We Love.

Merry Christmas!