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Media Center > Speeches > H.E THE PRESIDENT 2016 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

H.E THE PRESIDENT 2016 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

12/24/2016
Ni sa bula vinaka, Namaste, Asalaam Alaykum, Ni Hao, Noaia‘e Mauri and greetings to all my fellow Fijians.

Christmas is a time of great joy for Christians around the world. And even in the wake of yet another extreme weather event in Fiji which has again tested us as a people, a great many of us have gathered together today to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

As Fijians recover from the latest deluge and flooding and the loss of crops and possessions, we can all be thankful that we have been spared the loss of life that we experienced back in February after Cyclone Winston.

Our thoughts today are not only with those who have suffered because of the latest Tropical Depression, but with the families of the 44 Fijians whose lives were claimed by Winston. May the peace of Christmas especially be with you and yours this Christmas Day, with all the memories it must hold of being with your loved ones in previous years. The prayers of every Fijian are with you.


We take great comfort as a nation from the Christian message of hope that is embodied in the Christ child, Jesus.

And whether we are Christians or members of other religions, we can all celebrate the simple truth of the Christian message. Which is one of love, tolerance, compassion and understanding.

Jesus was not born amid riches and splendour. He was born to a poor couple with simple values in a stable surrounded by animals. So his values as he grew up were the values of ordinary people throughout the ages – love and respect of family, of caring for others and acknowledging a higher being. And in the case of Jesus, an especially fierce determination to fight injustice and preach the word of God.

Christians believe Jesus is the son of God, who was sent to redeem our sins and prepare us all for an afterlife in the presence of our creator. So today as Christians, we worship and thank the Almighty God for his abundant and unfailing love, as embodied in his son, Jesus Christ. Or as the Holy Bible tells it:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”

The life Jesus led was one of love, tolerance and compassion. Of empowering the dispossessed and reminding everyone of their obligations to each other.

As he famously said – “Love one another as I have loved you”. It is a wonderfully simple statement about how we should all live our lives. To put the needs of others before our own. To fight for justice for the downtrodden and dispossesed.

It is a message that is common to other great religions of the world. But it is one that Christians hold especially dear on Christmas Day, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ. So let us all rededicate ourselves as a nation on this day – Christians and the adherents of other religions – to building a Fiji built on the values that Christ embodied. Of love, peace, truth, justice and tolerance.

We can count ourselves extremely fortunate as Fijians that in a world that is often marked by selfishness and indifference, we are a caring nation. Fijians care for each other and they care about the world. Whether it is sending our troops to keep the peace for the citizens of other nations. Sending our civilian volunteers to build capacity in our Pacific neighbours. Or leading the fight against the effects of climate change or the threat to our oceans and seas.

Christians often ask themselves: “what would Jesus do?” Well we can be sure this Christmas Day that he would have supported all these things. Because it is about Fijians extending the hand of support and friendship to those who are less fortunate around the world and need our assistance.
Which is why I especially ask you to pray or spare a thought for our UN peacekeepers this Christmas Day, as well as the families they have left behind.

The same applies at home. And today, I want to ask you all to pray or spare a thought for the less fortunate among us. And for Christians to again ask yourselves “what would Jesus do?”.

I believe he would ask us to do all we can to support our fellow Fijians who have suffered from the torrential rain and flooding of the past couple of weeks. He would ask us to comfort and support all those who are still struggling to recover from Cyclone Winston. And he would ask us to rededicate ourselves to the task of building an equal, just and fair Fiji.


Next year promises to be one of the most momentous in our history. The world has given us the task of leading COP23 and the next phase of the fight against climate change. It has also given us the task of co-hosting the United Nations Oceans Conference and the fight against pollution and overfishing.

May Almighty God make us worthy of the challenge that we have been given. And may his abundant blessings be upon us as every Fijian – whatever their beliefs – joins in celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To each and everyone of you, my wife Sarote and our family wish you all a Blessed Christmas filled with love, unity and peace.

May God Bless our beloved nation, Fiji.

Major General (Retd) Jioji Konrote
President of the Republic of Fiji
 
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