Bula Vinaka.

In the Christian faith, the birth of Jesus Christ is God’s greatest gift to the world, as it marked a new era of redemption and kindled an everlasting flame of goodwill towards humankind. In the darkness of difficult times, that the hopeful light of that flame burns brightest. This Christmas comes at the close of a trying year and the end of an agonising week for our people. Though with the universal and unifying light of love as our beacon, which the birth of Christ has forever symbolised, I believe this adversity will give way to brighter days for Fiji.

This year’s hardships have revealed what is most precious: Our health, our human connections, and the power of our capacity for hope. We find that hopefulness in the comfort of friends and family, in our safety as a COVID-Contained country, and in our collective resolve to respond, recover, and rebuild from severe Cyclone Yasa. And we inspire it in others through the goodwill we show our fellow Fijians.

This Christmas must not be a holiday for the “haves” at the expense of the “have-nots”. If you have the means, help us uplift those suffering in the aftermath of Cyclone Yasa and those left reeling from the far-reaching economic impact of COVID-19. These vulnerable Fijians are whom Jesus would strive to serve were he among us today. Give directly to our recovery efforts, or support our handicraft makers, tourism operators, entrepreneurs, market vendors, and farmers whose livelihoods are threatened by this global pandemic.

In honouring God’s great love for all people, it is upon each of us to match the compassion Jesus Christ so openly showed to humanity. Regardless of faith, ethnicity, background, or province, we are in these struggles together, we will overcome them together, and, as we have so many times before, we will summon the goodness within ourselves to ensure no community, no neighbour, and no Fijian is left behind.

Vinaka vakalevu.

God Bless you all. Merry Christmas.

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