My Fellow Jamaicans,
In keeping with our tradition, we pause at this special time of year from our busy round of activities to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus. His entire life was devoted to peace, tolerance and love for all humanity.
His message still resounds among us, even moreso as nowadays we see a world in turmoil. Jesus’s message of the need for love and care of our fellowmen and women remains as pertinent today as it was at the time of His birth.
Christmas is a wonderful time for us in Jamaica as family and friends gather to celebrate.
An important part of our celebration is the great pleasure of welcoming home thousands of our fellow Jamaicans who live abroad, who return to enjoy the warmth of our climate, as well as the warmth and love of relatives, friends and extended families.
This year, we come together for this season, giving thanks to God for sparing us the worst of the wrath and fury of Hurricane Ivan. The spirit of national unity has led us to an amazing recovery. We continue to be grateful that together, we have accomplished as much as we have and soon everything will be fully restored.
So let us have a wonderful season.
For while we must continue as individuals, and as a nation, to cope with the challenges we undoubtedly face, we can take time out to enjoy the festive Season. Let us spend quality time with family and friends; let us take pleasure in the laughter of our children and in all our personal relationships. Let us enjoy the wonderful Christmas breeze and the extraordinary beauty of our island at this time of year.
But we must not forget the true meaning of Christmas. By all means, let us have our traditional meals, entertainment events, parties and the exchange of gifts – all these are part of our celebration.
But we must also remember that, for many of our citizens, this season may be a painful reminder of the losses of one kind or another that they have suffered during the past year. I urge you to make an extra effort to reach out to those who may need emotional support at this time.
Let us also give to those in need, whether they are our, friends, neighbours or strangers, young or old, anyone whose needs touch our hearts.
As a nation, as we put aside our cares for these few days, let us extend our goodwill outside our immediate circle and be especially considerate of each other, as we use our roads with courtesy. Let us walk, ride and drive with special care. Let us take sensible precautions regarding our personal security. We should look out for each other, spreading the peace and goodwill to all men and women that the Angels proclaimed on that first Christmas morning.
To those in our essential services, such as our health facilities, in the security forces, in the Fire Brigade and others who at this time make the personal sacrifice to stay on the job during this holiday season. To you we say a heartfelt “thank you”
As this year comes to a close, may all Jamaicans – at home and abroad – enjoy a peaceful and happy Christmas. As we pray in our churches here and all over the world, giving thanks for the birth of Jesus, let us seek God’s blessings and His guidance as to how best each and every one of us can contribute to the building of a peaceful, equitable and prosperous Jamaica, the land we love.
Merry Christmas, everyone!