My Fellow Jamaicans,
There is something about Christmas which retraces our childhood days and floods our hearts with memories of family and friends. It makes us wish for joy and happiness and that indeed, there will be peace on earth and goodwill among mankind.
That is what we call, “the spirit of Christmas;” that spirit of Love which was bequeathed to us on the first Christmas morn. When that spirit resides in our hearts, no present or purchase, no expression of good wishes or any form of entertainment can equate the real joy that it brings.
Sometimes we feel pressured to spend even more than we can afford on material things, and Christmas becomes a stressful time for many, rather than the joyous celebration which it ought to be.
This year we come to this season with thoughts of the many challenges which we faced individually and as a nation. Many mourn the loss of loved ones: some were victims of crime or of traffic accidents; others succumbed to illness. Others are concerned about their financial circumstances and worry about whether they will find a better tomorrow in this country. But Christmas reminds us that there is, in each of us, a spark which can ignite solutions to the challenges we confront.
I share with you my fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, my hope for Christmas – A Christmas in which we pause to reflect on how each of us may bring joy and peace wherever we are.
There is a well-known song “Let there be peace on earth” which reminds us that peace begins with each of us, and that we should focus on that inner change which we will impart to our world.
For this Christmas, I had challenged Jamaicans to once again bring joy into the lives of the needy and more vulnerable in our nation. I commend all who have taken up that challenge and look forward to the responses to your Christmas Good Deeds.
To our religious and charitable groups who showed the Christmas love to others throughout the year, I offer my sincere gratitude and encouragement, to persevere in well-doing.
In doing so, you are helping to maintain the Jamaican values where:
1. We see ourselves as our brother’s keeper;
2. We readily share from our table- however small- with those who have even less;
3. We protect our children and assist the vulnerable and
4. Where love inspires our giving.
This is why I appeal to all who can do so, to support charitable organizations which faithfully and responsibly distribute aid.
Yet, there are gifts which each of us can afford to give, and ways in which we may brighten the corner where we are. We can follow the advice of Oren Arnold, for us to give:
- To our enemy, forgiveness.
- To an opponent, tolerance.
- To a friend, our heart.
- To a customer, service.
- To all, charity.
- To every child, a good example and
- To ourselves, respect.
Lady Allen joins me in extending our best wishes for a joyous Christmas to all Jamaicans, to our friends who reside here, and to our visitors.
Keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year round, and may God bless us everyone!