Message from His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, on the occasion of Christmas 2023
The Prince of Peace
On behalf of the First Lady and our family, I extend heartfelt greetings for a joyous, holy and peaceful Christmas to all Guyanese at home and abroad.
I want to especially remember, at this time, our loyal and brave men and women in uniform, including those who are patrolling our borders and our waters, and who are unable at this time, because of the call of duty, to be at home with their families. I thank them and all others for the sacrifices that they are making in the cause of peace.
Christmas is a special period on the Christian calendar. It celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
According to the biblical narrative, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in a simple stable. This modest beginning is considered symbolic of the humility and accessibility of God’s love.
Christmas holds profound significance for Christians worldwide, serving as a reminder of the transformative power of love, compassion, and hope. For Christians, the birth of Jesus was a fulfilment of the prophecy of the Prophet Isaiah, who foretold that:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Christ’s birth was a ray of hope – a hope that transcends the darkest of times. This child, Jesus, born in a manger, would grow to be a symbol of love and peace.
Peace remains the great aspiration of human civilisation. Unfortunately, today, in many parts of the world, including in Bethlehem, where Christ was born, peace is threatened by the shadows of war and conflict. I invite all to pray for an end to the suffering wrought by conflict.
In the ongoing story of our nation, we have often faced adversity. It is in times of such challenges that we can draw strength from the manger. The nativity reminds us that greatness can emerge from the humblest beginnings and that even in the face of despair, hope can be found. The story of Bethlehem teaches us that hope is not contingent on favourable circumstances but rather on the will to rise above adversity.
Guyana today is rising to confront its challenges and bring peace and prosperity to our country. Guyana remains wedded to the ideal of peace, peace within our nation and peace with all our neighbours.
May the teachings of Jesus inspire us to foster unity in our diverse nation, to overcome the challenges that lie ahead, and to build a future filled with promise and peace.
As we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace:
Let us embody his teachings by reaching out to the less fortunate in our midst. Let us extend a helping hand to those in need. Let us support those who are feeling the weight of loneliness, offering them the warmth of our friendship and understanding. Let us embrace all those, without exception, who are grieving the loss of loved ones or grappling with misfortune.
Let us also spare a thought and reserve an act of caring for those who are sick and ailing. Through these and other acts of kindness, both collectively and individually, we honour Christ.
As we send Christmas greetings to all of Guyana, we must, for a moment, understand the challenges and the circumstances that our country withstood during this year. In all our challenges, in the loneliest of moments, what stood out the most was our love for our country, our patriotism, nationalistic fervour, our love for each other, our unity, and our commitment to each other and our country. This is the year we dug deep and renewed that love and commitment for our country and each other.
So, as we move in this season, I cannot help but remember our heroes – our five heroes who today stand tall in the history book of our country and this region. Their sacrifice is a lesson and a guide to us. Let us all come together in strength and unity, love and peace, as we build a stronger, more prosperous Guyana for all of us.
As we do this for Guyana, let us not forget that we have a responsibility too, to call upon all those who are involved in war, all those who continue to use conflict and war and force as a means of bringing peace, let us ask them to halt their action and give peace a chance. Let us stop the slaughter of children and women across the world, the slaughter of children and women in Palestine, and acts of terrorism. We must stop it.
We must find a way to resolve these conflicts and bring peace to those families because peace around the world depends on each of us as a country, as individuals and as citizens of the world.
Let us not allow this season to go without a recommitment from each of us as we seek to build a stronger, safer, fairer and more prosperous world.
May the warmth of Christmas engulf all of us and keep us safe during the holidays. I wish you and your loved ones a blessed and peaceful Christmas.