- Christmas is a special time of the year in Jamaica, and we celebrate it in our own distinctive way.
- It is the time of year when we share with family and friends the joys of the Season.
- Communities all over the country come together at this time to entertain and take care of the elderly and the needy and to hold special Treats for the children.
My fellow Jamaicans, Season’s Greetings.
Christmas is a special time of the year in Jamaica, and we celebrate it in our own distinctive way.
It is the time of year when we share with family and friends the joys of the Season.
Communities all over the country come together at this time to entertain and take care of the elderly and the needy and to hold special Treats for the children.
Families and friends come from far and near, and gather to enjoy the traditional Christmas meals with sorrel, gungo rice and peas and other typical Jamaican offerings.
All of these celebrations are our way of recognizing the message of Jesus Christ, that when all is said and done, we are our brothers and sisters keeper.
It is our way of highlighting the eternal truth, namely; that we express the best of our humanity when we care for each other and when we look out for the neediest and the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens.
As we take time out to celebrate with each other and consider the deeper meaning of Christmas, let us also remember in our prayers the many who have suffered tragic loss of loved ones, whether because of criminal activity or accidents on the roads, or other misfortunes. They are mourning the absence of friends and family from their usual festivities.
Let us take time out to express special appreciation for the members of our security forces who have been on the frontline of service throughout the year, away from their families and risking their lives to keep the rest of us safe and secure.
Let us also remember our other public servants; the first responders such as the members of our fire brigade, our health workers, our teachers and other public workers.
Every day these citizens pledge to put the public interest first, and often do so at great personal sacrifice.
If we have learnt nothing else, we should have learnt by this that the message of the Christ of “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all mankind” is an indication that our progress as human beings and citizens can only be properly fulfilled when we move forward together and when we care and respect each other. We must remember, especially at this time, the vulnerable, such as our elderly and our children.
We cannot ignore the needs of those who are left behind in poverty, need, or ignorance.
Each of us, as citizens and stakeholders in this great country, must take a stand.
We must resist all efforts to sow division and bitterness.
Even more, we should all make an effort to advance the cause of peace, justice and healing, in every area of our nation’s life where we can have an impact.
Let us seize this time at Christmas to make a special effort to build bridges of friendship and healing, regardless of colour, class or political affiliation so that the best qualities of our ‘Jamaicaness’ and of our humanity can shine through.
Let me make a special plea also, for all of us to extend a hand of caring to our young Jamaicans, many of whom have been inadequately prepared for the world of work and the demands of responsible citizenship.
The message of the Master Jesus tells us that we should embrace them with love, guidance, and assistance and not isolate them with abuse and hostility or by depriving them of their human rights.
Each one of us can make a pledge to show the love Christ brought into this world in practical ways.
Each one can teach one, each one can mentor one; each one can reach out to an elderly person, or sponsor a youth club.
We can share the best of our cultural heritage with the young in our communities who are moving into the prime of their lives.
Jamaicans, like others, are naturally inspired by goodwill, caring and love. All of us can benefit from a renewal of our human spirit.
In the midst of our every day cares about the cost of living, or about crime, or governance, let us make a special effort to use this season to reflect the best of our humanity. That is the true spirit and meaning of Christmas.
Let us call upon our reserves of strength to renew our Christian faith and share even the little that we have with our brothers and sisters.
May each and every one of us have a happy and holy Christmas Season and may Almighty God share the bounties of His Grace and His Blessings with all Jamaicans as we celebrate this Christmas Season.
May God Bless You, and may you have a Happy and Holy Christmas.