Christmas is a time of great joy in Fiji as Christians are joined by Fijians of other religions in a great national celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. We come together partly because of the wonderful simplicity of the Christmas message – a baby born to a poor couple in a stable who grew up to change the world.
The impact of Jesus Christ across the ages comes from his teaching that God loves us all without exception and that we, in turn, must love each other. This is something that inspires every Fijian – whatever our particular beliefs – because the same principle happens to be shared by all the world’s great religions.
Christmas is for everyone and is also a source of national unity – the idea that if we can embrace God’s love and love one another, anything is possible for ourselves and our nation.
As we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, let us rededicate ourselves to putting love at the centre of our national life, to care for each other and especially the vulnerable. And as we gather together with our families and friends, let us spare a thought for those who are less fortunate, both in Fiji and overseas.
I especially ask you to remember those Fijians in distant parts of the world who are spending Christmas away from their loved ones in the service of our nation, whether as civilian volunteers, police or UN peacekeepers. However far they may be from home, they remain close to us in our thoughts and prayers and we send them a collective greeting on this most special of days.
May the joy and peace of the Festive Season be with every Fijian. My wife, Mary, joins me in wishing you all a Very Happy Christmas.