My fellow Jamaicans,
On the first Christmas morning, the angels sang: “Peace on earth and goodwill towards humankind.”
I greet you warmly and ask that we seek to recapture and renew that sense of peace and goodwill to all those with whom we interact today and throughout this holiday season.
There is something truly special about the Christmas Season. No other season or time of year compares in terms of the feeling of goodwill, togetherness, peace, joy and love.
Our National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey reminded us that “The Child Jesus was sent into this world to teach us the new life – the life of love, of charity – the life of mercy.”
Charity and kindness are indeed the hallmark of Christmas and we must actively seek to demonstrate these characteristics as we take time out to share with our family, friends and neighbours.
As Jamaicans, we often express the warmth of this season in our family reunions, the exchange of greetings and gifts, the singing of Carols and community socials, as well as the traditional treats of sorrel, gungo rice and peas and Christmas cake.
These are complimented by nature in the bright, beautiful, blooming poinsettias and soothing, cool weather.
We celebrate this season with joy as we cherish families, loved-ones, neighbours and friends.
This Christmas, let us make a special effort to reach out, and share, as we demonstrate the true sense of community. Let peace begin in our hearts and blow across our island, like the cool Christmas breeze.
As we join in the festivities of the season, let us remember those who are less fortunate. Let us extend the Christmas goodwill and embrace those outside of our immediate circle of family and friends. Let us reach out especially to the children, the elderly, the infirm and persons with disabilities.
This is the time to let them know how much we care for them. Show them that they are valued and cherished. Show them that we are indeed, One Jamaican Family.
Mother Teresa intimated to us that Christmas provides the opportunity for us to let God love others through us.
Each smile, each greeting, each gift, each deed of kindness that we share during this period of goodwill, is an extension of God’s goodness.
It is our privilege and duty as caring human beings to ensure that the poorest and most disadvantaged among us share in God’s grace through our kindness towards them.
I encourage all parents, grandparents and guardians to keep your children close to you. Love them, hug them, kiss them, let them feel and know that they are special to you. Let them know that they will always have your protective arms about them.
Let them know you care. And even where there might be no material gifts to give. You can still put a sparkle in their eyes with the love in your hearts.
Let us bring Christmas cheer to those in our hospitals, children’s homes, places of safety and the various institutions which offer care to the less fortunate.
Everyone has something to give, be it a gift that can be held in the hand or one that can be treasured in the heart. Remember, we are indeed one Jamaican family.
To all our workers in the essential and utility services; in the armed forces and uniformed groups; and those who keep our communities clean; on this Day, we think of you in a special way, and thank you for your service and sacrifice. Jamaica cannot function without you and I want to assure you that the country is grateful to each of you.
Our hearts continue to go out to those who suffered loss and are recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. I assure you that you are not forgotten.
As we continue to make every effort to support you in your process of recovery, we also pause on this Christmas day to remember you in a special way and to wish you, despite the dislocation and challenges, a peaceful and bright Christmas.
Christmas is the season of hope, joy, peace and goodwill. I urge all our citizens to apply the precautions which will prevent accidents.
Take good care on the roads as you go about your activities. If you drink don’t drive and if you drive don’t drink.
Let us celebrate and enjoy our families and festivities, but let us be careful that we protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Let us take the spirit of peace and goodwill of this Christmas into the New Year.
I wish for everyone – Jamaicans at home and abroad, and the visitors to our beautiful island – a happy, holy and peaceful Christmas.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill towards all humankind.”
Have a joyous Christmas. And may God bless us all.