The Prime Minister says his holiday desire is for everyone to say a silent prayer, both individually and “maybe collectively,” to be reminded that tolerance of one another is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s national watchwords and to have caring, peace, safety, and joy.
In his Christmas message, Dr. Rowley stated, “Fellow Citizens, I am moved, with deep emotions today, as I bring Christmas greetings 2022 on behalf of the government of our republic, my family, and myself, as Prime Minister.”
“My greetings, I expect, will meet most of you in the customary spirit of joy, merriment, and goodwill of the season, and for this, we in TT – given recent worldwide events – must be eternally grateful to the almighty.”
“Let us continue to preserve and share the spirit of Christmas even as a small but dangerous minority has acted and continues to spread sorrow across our land.”
At the interfaith National Service of Reflection and Thanksgiving earlier this month, he mentioned that many people had lost loved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic, “while some were affected by the recent floods, and current economic difficulties and many families are forced to carry deep hurts, maybe for the rest of their lives, due the upheaval in violent murders and other crimes.”
He said that he then tried to console individuals experiencing despair by “appealing to them to keep their faith in God, however, they may see him, with the reminder that in great darkness, there is always dawn to be had.
“In the Christian faith, we hold that for believers, all things are possible; we can overcome all obstacles and tragedies, once we are with Jesus Christ, because his Grace is always with us, and it strengthens our lives.
“Let us continue to have faith and continue to be strong in the face of adversity as we celebrate,” he noted.
“The merriment apart, I want to take my appeal further to all citizens to pause on this day. Let us all, personally, the law-abiding and the lawless, find a quiet moment, within the celebrations to stop the music, hold the drinks, the ham, the black cake, the ponche-a-creme, et cetera. and reflect on the meaning of this day – if only for the moment.
“Let us then remind yourselves, what are we celebrating?”
“Christmas Day is a real Spiritual moment in our existence. It is all about a messenger, a teacher, a wisdom master, who came to man, some 2,000 years ago, with a message that the ‘Kingdom of Heaven is within us,’ teaching love, healing, and forgiveness, asking that we transform our lives, that we outgrow human darkness, our selfishness, our egocentricities and consciously seek to liberate ourselves to a higher level.”
“Fill your hearts instead, he said, with the energies of love and compassion and ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ because your neighbor, your fellow man, is within you.”
Rowley quoted a biblical verse, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
“Taken literally this statement may cause hurt, particularly if one is mourning the loss of immediate family, friend, or just another member of our community.”
“The illegal guns kill with a loud report, and the after-effects kill silently even in the season of love, Christmas.”
“This,” Rowley said, “is a season of tremendous anxiety and one in which every citizen should be seeking an inner peace with God.”