Christmas is a time for celebration – a celebration we share with our loved ones, our families and our friends. It is a time for giving and for forgiving.
It is a time for giving because that is how Christmas started more than 2,000 years ago when God, because He so loved the world, gave us His only begotten Son. And it is a time for forgiving because the very next verse in that 3rd chapter of John’s gospel says that God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world, through Him, might be saved.
Let this Christmas, therefore, be about giving. And what I mean by that is not necessarily the material gifts that many, particularly the children, look forward to at this time. By all means, those of us who can offer a gift, especially to someone who is poor and in need, let us do so. But all of us can show love for it doesn’t cost a cent and, as the Bible teaches us, even though there abide faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is love.
And let this also be a time of forgiveness. Let’s reach out to those who we think may have done us wrong, to those with whom we may have had harsh words during the year. Let this be a Christmas that celebrates in a real way the birth of Christ and the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
We must remember especially at this time those who are sick and shut in. Let’s take the spirit of Christmas to them. And let us also remember those who lost loved ones during the year and must face their first Christmas without them. Let us not allow them to suffer the loneliness that faces them. Let’s try to fill that void in their lives.
We welcome the thousands of Jamaicans who live abroad and have come home to spend Christmas with their families. And to those who were not able to make it home, we say Merry Christmas, wherever you are. No matter how far away you may be, no matter how cold it may be where you are, we know you will find a way to instill the warmth of the Jamaican spirit into your Christmas celebrations.
I offer a special greeting to those who have to be on the job while we celebrate Christmas – the members of our security forces, the doctors, nurses and support staff who have to man our hospitals, the correctional officers, fire service personnel, workers in the public transportation system, and, yes, the private security guards. We thank them for the sacrifices they make on our behalf.
I wish for all Jamaicans here and far a peaceful, holy and happy Christmas.
May God’s bountiful blessings be upon all of us at this time.