HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER’S 2016 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

As Christians come together all across our nation to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, my wife, Mary, and I are pleased to wish every Fijian a very happy Christmas.

For Christians, Jesus’s humble birth is a reminder that all human beings have equal value, and that no one is limited by the condition of his birth. And the Christmas season is a time for joy, reflection and expressing our love for one another.

Jesus called on the people of the world to serve our fellow human beings – a lesson of special importance this Christmas season, as there are many who have been displaced and are suffering in the aftermath of the recent Tropical Depression. My Government is doing all that it can to assist those in need, and I ask those fortunate enough to be spared to join hands with Government to help our fellow Fijians. Together, we can overcome this challenge, emerge stronger and truly live out the Christmas spirit of love and kindness that Jesus sought to inspire in his life.

Fijians of all faiths can share in that spirit of Christmas because the teachings of Jesus are universal. He asked us to us to love our neighbour, to forgive and seek forgiveness, to uphold justice, to show compassion, and to value the spiritual over the material. Those are values that Fijians of all faiths can embrace. And it is in that spirit that I encourage all Fijians to make this Christmas a national celebration of unity by working side by side to assist those who need it most.

We have experienced great loss and great exhilaration this year — the loss and suffering visited upon us by Tropical Cyclone Winston and the joy and pride we felt in the triumph of our Rugby Sevens team at the Olympics. We were united through adversity and triumph. As Christians believe that Jesus Christ overcame death to offer mankind eternal life, let us have faith in ourselves as a people, because we Fijians have shown that we can triumph over any adversity, meet any challenge, and chart the most ambitious course for our future.

This Christmas, let us renew the spirit of hope, courage and compassion that brought us to where we stand today. Let us care for those who are less fortunate, let us protect those who are vulnerable, let us love and understand each other, and let us always uphold the high moral character that defines us as a people. And finally, let us always remember the lesson of Jesus’s humble birth—that greatness is defined by the value of our deeds, the strength of our character and the courage to always to do what is right.

As I have every year, I also ask that we all keep our men and women serving the nation in our thoughts and prayers, especially those who cannot spend Christmas here at home. To our civilian volunteers, police and UN Peacekeepers: you represent the best of our nation, and we are all extremely grateful for your service and your sacrifice.

May the joy and peace of the Christmas season be with every Fijian. I wish you all a blessed and safe Christmas.