Christmas Message 2017
December 25, 2017 Executive Office, Berkeley Crescent, Suva.
Ni sa bula vinaka, Namaste, Asalaamu Alaykum, Ni Hao, Noa’ia ‘e Mauri and greetings to all my fellow Fijians.
As Christians around the world gather to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, I extend on behalf of my wife Sarote and our family our warmest wishes that all Fijians find the real meaning of Christmas this season and share in the joy of peace, love and compassion.
The Year 2017 has brought its fair share of accomplishments and challenges, but I strongly believe that as a nation, we have stood united and remained firm in our faith in God Almighty.
And we should rejoice this Christmas because this is the foundation of the birth of Christ over two thousand years ago in the small town of Bethlehem – to save the troubled world, to give hope to the poor and vulnerable, and to allow for all individuals to reflect on their journey in life.
Last year, I spoke on the great responsibilities Fiji had undertaken to lead the world’s climate change negotiations and to push the global agenda to combat pollution and overfishing in the world’s oceans.
We can proudly say that we have met the great expectations placed on us by the world.
We successfully co-chaired the first ever United Nations Oceans Conference, and we successfully presided over the COP23 meeting in Bonn, Germany.
We have also passed on the baton as president of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
And we continue to serve the international community and our Pacific Islands nations through peacekeeping services and through education and health support, among others.
Every Fijian can be proud that Fiji stands the tallest it ever has in the world today, and we have put our nation on the world map like never before.
On the home front, we have continued to work towards the development and well-being of every Fijian firstly by growing the national economy.
This in turn is helping us provide the basic necessities of life such as a decent income, affordable housing, and improved infrastructure.
We are also able to assist more young people to get a better head start in life through improved access to education, and assist young families and rural dwellers with their small businesses to support their livelihoods.
We also continue to promote a safe and inclusive Fiji through the celebration of religious festivals and arts, and promote a healthier society.
We can therefore take comfort in the message of Christmas that Jesus was sent to the world to carry out His mission – to educate, to sow compassion and most importantly, to save humanity and the world.
It is now in our own hands to sow the same values as individuals, with our families, in our communities and throughout our nation.
A God-given trait that we as Fijians are blessed with is the heart of caring.
Despite our differences, we are always looking for ways to reconcile as we like to do things collectively because we become a stronger community in that way.
This Christmas, I remind all of us of the words of John the Apostle, and I quote: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world”. .
Let us all come together in the spirit of the Christmas tradition to love one another and express our gratitude for the blessings we’ve received this past year, and for the strength to overcome whatever challenges we face.
Let us also lead by example in our daily lives by promoting a healthy lifestyle so that we can live longer and happier.
I also ask that we show more care for the environment to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Importantly, I ask that we denounce any hatred shown against our brothers and sisters of other religions.
I also ask that we denounce all ills of society including violence against women, children and the vulnerable.
Although we cannot forecast what is in store for us in the New Year, we certainly can place trust in God Almighty for His guidance, protection and providence.
To all my fellow Fijians, May this Christmas bring to your families greater understanding, tolerance and peace.
It is my prayer that God Almighty will bless all our families, communities and Bless Fiji on this Christmas day.
Vinaka Vakalevu, Dhanyavaad, Sukria, Xie Xie, Faiek’sia and Thank you.