Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is urging persons to use this Christmas Season to explore their hearts and minds.
In his Christmas message, Dr Rowley says while it is a time for festivity, it is also a time to reflect on ourselves and the many national challenges.
Below is his full message:
“Christmas Day holds great significance for Christians worldwide as it heralds the birth of the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
What began over two thousand years, as a Christian celebration, has transcended human differences in history, race, language, culture, and, even religion to become a prevailing feeling of goodwill, celebrated with jubilation by billions of people around the world.
It is written that the significance of the feast of Christmas is in the celebration of Divine Light breaking into our human consciousness. This Light was so bright that it was impossible, at first sight, to grasp its full meaning, as such only the shepherds in the fields were able to able to partake, initially, in its significance. Little by little, we have come to understand the manifestation of the Divine birth of the child born in Bethlehem; that he was the promised Messiah, and through him salvation came for all those who would believe.
For Christians, the reason for Christmas Day is that Christ the King, the light of the World is born. This is a time when we are all absorbed into the essence of the faith in which Christ invites us into a Divine union, offering it as the sole remedy for our present, human predicament.
The Christmas season brings a range of emotions, unique feelings which cause us to suspend, on one hand, at least temporarily, our instinctive, egotistical, selfish search for esteem, status and recognition, and financial gain, and, on the other, it creates a powerful atmosphere of genuine love, with open displays of generosity of our hearts — not based on pride, but rather on humility.
For some, it is a time of gift-giving seemingly observing the Proverbs (11:24-25) which says that the more one who gives freely, one grows all the richer, while the other, who withholds what he should be giving, suffers want.
As we celebrate this birth, I feel it is a time, when we all should be honest with ourselves. In this moment, I urge, that we all reflect upon our personal, spiritual journey, and our inter-connectedness with that larger force, which stands beyond our daily lives, for it is also a time when we all should seek purification in which we confront, and dispose of the distorted realities in our lives.
We should pause, asking ourselves how far we have drifted away from the significance of the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem? Let us look inwardly, asking ourselves how have we allowed our instinctual needs, and those toxic aspects of our cultural conditioning to dominate our daily lives? Or how many times we have placed our personal gain, the interest of our friends, contacts, race, even religious beliefs, beyond the collective societal, and national good, and how do our individual actions measure up against the essential message of Christmas.
This season is not only an opportunity to share good times with friends and love ones, but to also reflect on our inter-connectedness with that larger force, which stands beyond our daily lives, and to celebrate the things that unite us as opposed to those that divide us. This is the reason for the season of Christmas. As we celebrate this birth, let us pause, and give thanks in Trinidad and Tobago for a season which so effortlessly brings people of all faiths, backgrounds, races and religions together in a celebratory mood of unity.
While Christmas is a time for festivity, it is also a time to reflect, on our many national challenges. And it is also a time that we consider our individual roles in Trinidad and Tobago, accepting our personal responsibility in the country, and envisioning, as citizens, how we can improve our quality of life, and our individual roles in nation building.
We should continue to go out and show concern for the less fortunate so that they, too, will not feel the curse of loneliness. At this time, I appeal to citizens to try to become more Christ-like, in their daily lives; not only adopting the spirit of giving, in this moment, but displaying, in their daily lives, that spirit, which the Christ embodies and encourages us to possess.
Let the message of the Divine Light, the birth of our saviour in a manger, and the messages of Christ inspire us to open ourselves always to one another, to connect sincerely, and commune with each throughout the year — regardless of where we live, our race, colour, or religion.
Let the message of Christ help us all to continue to live in peace, joy and harmony, together in this, our home, Trinidad and Tobago
Merry Christmas! Greetings, from my family, and may God bless our nation.”