My fellow Jamaicans, we often use the phrase peace and love in a casual, but endearing manner to greet our relatives and friends. However, this Christmas season, as we consider the gift of love through the birth of the Christ Child; and the need for peace in our lives, communities and country, I urge everyone to make this season a genuine Christmas of peace and love, in the full meaning of those words.
The majesty and joy that ushered in the advent of Christ, in severe contrast to the lowly birth in a manger, tell a unique story of peace and love. Today, we can learn from His humble beginnings that we, too, can rise above the challenges and limitations in our lives, if we truly accept and, in turn, generate peace and love.
This year, as a nation, we have experienced peaceful transitions in Government – at the national and local levels, through the democratic process, a true indication of our continuing growth and maturity. And, despite the challenges of globalization, the impact of natural disasters, and the rising incidence of crime and violence, we can still rely on our leaders and national institutions to maintain a true sense of stability.
We are not alone in our efforts to shape a progressive society. All around the world, developed and developing countries are also grappling with similar issues- aggravated by the rising oil and grain prices, as well as financial and political upheavals.
Let us, therefore, make this Christmas not only a time to celebrate with our immediate and extended families, but also a time to share with the less fortunate individuals in our communities. Let us make this Christmas a time to give thanks for the beauty of our country, as well as for the freedom and human rights that we so often take for granted. Let us seek to identify peaceful and creative approaches to meet the challenges and consequences of development and globalization, as we move into the future.
And, as we welcome the yuletide sounds, sights, aromas and ambience of the holiday season, Lady Hall and I extend a very special wish for you, and hope that this will indeed be – a joyful season of peace, love and healing.