Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s 2012 Christmas Day Message

The Christmas story is a magical one that resonates with every Fijian – the birth of a baby and the promise of joy and renewal.

For Christians, the celebration of the arrival of the Christ Child is especially significant. Jesus wasn’t on earth for long, reputedly just 33 years before he was crucified and God’s purpose was fulfilled. But his message of love and redemption continues to echo through the ages.

Christmas is easily the happiest day on the Christian calendar. And the other faiths in Fiji join their Christian brothers and sisters to celebrate because the Christmas message is for everyone.

It is beautifully simple. “Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy. For unto you a child is born. Unto you a son is given”.

Jesus wasn’t born into a wealthy or powerful family. Far from it.

Mary and Joseph – his parents – were poor ordinary people. As the greatest story of the Bible tells us, Mary gave birth in a stable surrounded by cattle and sheep, not in a fancy house surrounded by servants.

What does this mean? I believe that God honours the poor and the humble, not the mighty and the powerful. He sides with the downtrodden and the dispossessed. He gives comfort to the homeless, like those Fijians affected by the terrible force of Cyclone Evan. And he invites us all to reflect this Christmas Day on the amazing power of a simple story about a new-born baby lying in a manger.

When Jesus grew up, he said something very important about how we should all treat each other that applies to people of all religious faiths. “ Love one another as I have loved you”. Christ’s teachings of love, compassion and tolerance are relevant to every Fijian. They are shared by the other great religions in Fiji and should be at the centre of all our lives.

As your Prime Minister, I ask that we reflect on them – along with the values we all share and that bind our beloved country together – as we come together as families and friends to celebrate this special day.

Last week, those values helped us to withstand the onslaught of Cyclone Evan. We came together as a nation and again showed the world our unique Fijian Spirit. We especially thank God that he spared every one of us to celebrate this very special day.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas.