For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
My fellow Jamaicans, on this blessed Christmas Day, I warmly greet you as we reflect on our Saviour, whose humble birth we celebrate today.
2019 has been a very challenging year for our Jamaican Family but we are thankful for the many blessings of life, health, family, friends and strong communities that we enjoy.
Christmas is always a special time of celebration for Jamaicans. It is the time of year when families and communities come together to share goodwill and celebrate not only the birth of Jesus but the bonds of family and of friendships.
It is also a time of giving as we focus on helping those in need especially the most vulnerable among us.
So many Jamaicans – businesses, churches, organizations and political representatives have held treats for the elderly, the indigent and for our children. By spreading the Christmas cheer, we are showing love, affection and care and giving life to the message delivered by Jesus Christ so many centuries ago.
For those who give of themselves to make life better for others, I thank you on behalf of a grateful nation.
Even as we celebrate Christmas and its message of “peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind”, we cannot ignore that far too many Jamaicans are suffering because of crime, violence, economic hardships and social inequalities. We hear the frustration, and the anxiety and concerns of so many Jamaicans.
This Christmas let us lighten the burdens on our hearts as best we can by focusing on the Christmas message of peace, love and hope for humankind and reach out to those around us in our neighborhoods and communities who are in need.
Let us keep an eye on and open our hearts to those who have lost loved ones, who may find Christmas a difficult time filled with special memories. Let us also reach outside of our own circles to those who are alone and in need of a little cheer.
As we welcome friends and families into our homes and especially embrace those visiting from overseas, let us also take time to re-dedicate ourselves to correcting wrongs and creating a Jamaica that works for all of our people. This is our country and together we can make it better!
This Christmas let us also remember those who answer the call of duty and will not be able to spend time with their families and friends. They are the unsung heroes and heroines who toil outside the glare of public recognition.
We are particularly grateful to:
* The members of the Security Forces who have been on the frontline throughout the year risking their lives on our behalf
* Our health workers have been particularly stressed trying to respond to the dengue epidemic in the face of run-down facilities
*Our First Responders, including members of the fire brigade and other public workers caring for children in children’s homes and the elderly in the Golden Age and other homes
Let us reflect on the sacrifices they make on our behalf and thank them sincerely.
In all of this, we should never forget to thank the Almighty for the blessings that we all have received. There are the reminders every day of the bountiful gifts that this nation has received.
Most recently, Miss World, Toni-Ann Singh lit the fire of patriotic pride among all of us as she portrayed the beauty, strength and confidence of the young Jamaican woman.
Our musicians like Koffee, Protoje, Omi, Third World and numerous others continue to leave their indelible mark on the creative stage of the world. Our sporting heroes led by Tajae Gayle the sensational long jumper and the Pocket Rocket, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, who took time off to become a mother and then with preparation, hard work and determination returned to the track and took the world by storm.
We give thanks for all these national gifts and more as Christmas is also a time of thanksgiving.
It is also a time for us to renew our vision and our hopes in becoming better citizens and building a successful Jamaica bolstered by our faith in the Almighty and the confidence in ourselves as a people, given the tremendous achievements of our ancestors and the triumphs of our history.
We welcome Jamaicans who have returned home to be with their loved ones at this time to enjoy some sorrel, curried goat, gungo rice and peas and other Jamaican delicacies.
To our visitors who are vacationing away from the cold, enjoying our brilliant sunshine and savouring our delightful hospitality, we also wish for you a ‘truly Jamaican’ Christmas.
So, my fellow Jamaicans here at home and in the Diaspora, I pray for your progress and your upliftment. I wish for you a Happy and Holy Christmas and hope that your holidays will be peaceful, joyous and safe.
May God Bless You and may God bless Jamaica land we love. Happy Christmas Jamaica.