At this special time of the year, our hearts are warmed by thoughts of family and friends and most people are moved to acts of kindness and generosity of spirit. We thrill to the sights, smells and sounds associated with Christmas – the carols, the decorations, the sorrel, Christmas pudding and traditional meals, the red kettle and tinkling bells of the Salvation Army.
Christmas also brings an air of excitement for many, but for others, there is the sadness of bereavement, the agony of ill health, the fear of insecurity or even the indifference born of hopelessness. Yet it is in the midst of these unhappy situations, we have the opportunity to give the gift of love, to shine a light in the darkness of despair, to share with others who are in need, to comfort those who are sad or lonely and to lend a helping hand wherever possible. From our house to yours, my family and I offer you our gift of love and our prayers, especially for the needy, the sick and the bereaved.
We send a special greeting to those religious, charitable or public institutions which are taking care of our vulnerable citizens in homes for children, the aged and infirm, the abandoned and the marginalized. We trust that you will receive the public and private financial support which you need, so that you may continue to bring relief and hope.
Christmas must be a time when we remind ourselves of how to be our brother’s keeper; living in such a way that our families will be stronger, our communities safer and more caring and our nation more peaceful and productive. Our celebrations should be centred on family togetherness, building bridges of reconciliation and taking the time to make our children, the elderly and the disabled feel special. The love and joy we share at Christmas are of lasting value.
We must also unite to make our roads safe this Christmas and not repeat the mistakes of careless and reckless driving which have already resulted in so much tragedy this year.
Lady Allen joins me in extending to each of you, including Jamaicans who have come home for the holidays and all visitors to our shores, as well as to all Jamaicans overseas, a very happy, peaceful and safe Christmas. May the Love which came on that first Christmas day fill every heart and inspire us all to be the best that we can be.
Merry Christmas Jamaica, and may God bless us everyone!