Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the country has been “grappling with serious social, economic and other challenges.”
In his Christmas message to the nation yesterday, the Prime Minister said the recent historic flooding is one example which quickly comes to mind.
He said, “In this instance, however, we experienced an outpouring of love, charity and togetherness as many of you came to the aid of those adversely affected, whether or not you knew them.”
He added: “This goodwill was indeed a true demonstration of the Christmas spirit residing in our hearts even outside of the Yuletide Season. While many men, women and children were feeling overwhelmed with homes under water, the selfless actions of others brought them hope and the help needed to recover.”
Rowley said this reinforced him and by extension the entire nation that T&T is blessed because “we are rarely adversely affected by natural disasters, but that Trinidad and Tobago is blessed because of its people who carry the essence of the original message of Christmas in their hearts throughout the year.”
He said: “An angel appeared to a group of shepherds as they tended their sheep in the fields on that faithful first Christmas saying, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.’”
The PM noted that the message delivered to the shepherds expressed great expectation that something spectacular and extraordinary was happening. It conveyed deliverance from detriment and ruin “for all the people.” The original Christmas message, he said, was that of hope and salvation.
Rowley said while it has become customary for people all over the world to place great emphasis on lavish decorations, gifts, food, festivities and merriment, this should not be accepted as the true meaning of Christmas.
“As we go about celebrating this Holy and festive season with our families, friends and loved ones, we should also be mindful of the original Christmas message which should be the focal point of our celebrations and reside in our hearts all year round.”
He added, “Undoubtedly, ladies and gentlemen, we will, as a nation, continue to face adversities even as we grow and develop. However, hope and salvation are possible through our collective actions.
“As such, I invite all the people of Trinidad and Tobago to pray for one another, pray for our nation and continue to keep the message of Christmas alive through your actions each and every day, for the Christmas Season and beyond.
“On behalf of my family and the Government, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a bright and prosperous 2019.”