My fellow citizens, today, all around the world, people of faith and goodwill celebrate the joyous occasion of Christmas. Together we remember that holy night, over two thousand years ago, when the Christ Child, Jesus, was born – God’s gift to humanity. In tribute, the wise men followed a bright star to Bethlehem to pay homage to this little child wrapped in swaddling clothes – lying in a manger and born in a stable.
We read in Luke Chapter 2 verse 11: ‘And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: ‘Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, Unto you is born this day a Savior which is Christ the Lord.’
In this little child, hope sprung; in this little child, faith was renewed; in this little child, love was made visible. Christmas is one of the most wonderful holidays in the year, when we open our hearts to something bigger than ourselves – love for each other and love for our Heavenly Father for giving us Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son.
All too often we can get caught up in the “busy-ness” of the Christmas season and we forget what it is really about. We get overly concerned about the curtains, the food, the gifts etc. that we lose sight of the most important thing – the birth of Jesus and what it means for all of us. This beautiful event sometimes becomes lost in the revelry; succumbing to over-indulgence and compromised by consumerism and base tendencies – all anathema to the real and true spirit of the holy season.
It is important for us to re-focus, re-evaluate, and to re-direct our thoughts on the Christ Child and the message He embodied: ‘Peace to all people of goodwill.’
It is a time to put aside all differences and to reach out to our fellow human beings in a spirit of love and forgiveness. It is a time of sharing with those who have little or nothing. It is a time to spread Joy, Peace, and Happiness in a world so fragmented; a world that needs healing and reconciliation so desperately.
Each and every one of us has that responsibility. Each of us has a divine calling to make this world a better place and to live in peace and harmony with one another regardless of ethnicity, colour, religion, gender, or social background. This is our shared human mandate and our urgent responsibility.
As we open the doors of hospitality to our colleagues, friends, and family this Christmas, let us also open the doors of our hearts to those in need. To allow the message of Christmas to take root in our hearts and inspire us to put into practice the tenets of truth, love, and compassion, we must resolve to collectively unite in the best interests of our human family.
We can start by: giving to a needy family – some groceries and toys for the children; spending time with the elderly in Homes for the Aged; comforting those who have recently lost loved ones; giving a job to someone so that they can maintain their family; and donating to a worthy cause – especially to help sick and needy children. These are but a few things we can do to spread the message of Christmas, to bring smiles to faces, and relief to families.
My fellow citizens, there are many people out there who are hurting. Who else can offer help but us. When we accept this innate divine calling we follow in the steps of Jesus who came, not to be served, but to serve.
As Prime Minister I am ever mindful of my responsibilities. I always endeavour to keep in my mind the well-being of all my fellow citizens. The real mandate of every government is to work for the benefit of all citizens, especially the most needy and vulnerable in society. This is a responsibility that my government will not shirk, for we recognize and appreciate that this is essential to good governance, holistic development, and prosperity.
At the same time, I must remind all citizens that we must work together to build the Trinidad and Tobago of our dreams – a country free of hunger, poverty, violence, and inequity; a country where there is prosperity for all. Every citizen should put our proverbial “shoulders to the grind” and turn the wheels of national development to make our dreams a reality.
I know we face many challenges, now and in the future, but together, with resolve and strength of character, we will make it. As we celebrate Christmas in our homes, schools, and places of work and worship, let us re-commit ourselves – parents, children, teachers, churches, civil society, artists, employees in the public and private sectors, business people, and politicians – to the noble task ahead.
Christmas provides us with the opportunity to bring out the best in ourselves and to give meaning and action to the message of Christ today and every day by the way we live and by the way we treat with each other.
Faith makes all things possible; Hope makes all things work; and Love makes all things truly beautiful. May you, my fellow citizens, have all three this Christmas by the grace of our Almighty Creator.
We are collectively blessed by the advent of a wondrous child, who is love. May the magic of this holy miracle inspire us all to be our best selves and to make this world a better place.
It is my special Christmas prayer that the light of understanding will abide in every human heart. May the bond of love, which is the spirit of Christmas, unite all people of goodwill in faith and hope.
Let us plan and work together in harmony so that the blessing of peace shall come to our nation and every nation. May the true meaning of Christmas continue to guide us in all our future ways.
On this very special occasion, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and on behalf of my own family, I wish you a Happy and Holy Christmas and a truly Bright and Prosperous New Year.
God bless you and God bless our nation.
Office of the Prime Minister TT
December 24, 2013.