The miraculous birth of Jesus Christ – celebrated by most Christians on the 25th December – is recorded in the Gospel according to St Luke as heralding an era of “peace on earth and good will toward men.”
Jesus’ humble birth took place in a common manger in a tiny town in an obscure country. He was able, nevertheless, with a small band of disciples, to preach a gospel that transformed the world in a most fundamental way and created a remarkable Christian civilization of which we are all heirs. Guyana being a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society is in a unique position to benefit from the teachings of the religions of all of its peoples. Christmas is, therefore, not only for members of the Christian community but for all Guyanese in a very real sense. There is abundant evidence that the teachings of Christianity and its practices have influenced the lives of all of our people. In other words, this country has seen the benefits of the policy of allowing all religions to flower in Guyana. Christian beliefs go well beyond the religious and have had a notable effect on all aspects of life in Guyana, in terms of the production of Art, Literature, our way of living and our objective of building a harmonious and tolerant society.
The Christian spirit of charity continues to inspire Guyanese of all religions. Ordinary people everywhere reach out with compassion and generosity to help their brothers and sisters in distress.
We call to mind the plight of the aged, the poor and other vulnerable citizens. We remember our servicemen and soldiers who will spend this joyous festival separated from their families at sea and on our far-flung frontiers. We recognize the service of our nurses, servicemen, technicians and working people who maintain our utilities, sanitary facilities and security services to ensure that citizens could be safe and that the nation could be secure.
The biblical promise of peace on earth and good will toward men, however, remains unfulfilled. Guyanese are urged on the occasion of this sacred festival – through thought, word and work – to make Jesus’ message of mercy and his ministry to the poor and needy the main motifs of their celebration.