President Paula-Mae Weekes has chosen to highlight the many people in the country who will find it impossible to experience the "merry" in Christmas this year.
In her Christmas message yesterday, Weekes said, "Residents of Greenvale, former Petrotrin or TSTT employees, parents of a missing child, the wife of a murder victim and sundry others may just not be feeling it.
What should be a time of hope, peace, love and joy is rather a period of sadness, frustration and despair for them.
For me to smile brightly and wish them Merry Christmas might be to add salt to a festering wound," she said.
"The peaceful Christmas tableau with its nuclear family, angels bearing good tidings and the Magi may seem very remote and irrelevant when family life is under siege, good news as scarce as hen’s teeth, and worse yet there is not a wise man in sight."
However, she added that in T&T there are multiple opportunities during the year to reflect on values that are common to all good men and women and Christmas is one such period.
"Christmastide is first and foremost a season of hope. The hope of Christians is the power and freedom to live confidently in the present trusting that the future is pregnant with possibility while awaiting Christ's second Advent which will renew all things and fulfil God's purpose for the world," the President said.
Noting that the season has become synonymous with gift-giving, she suggested a Christmas gift registry of a listening ear, your time and attention, empathy, encouragement, good manners, optimism, introspection, respect for others, self-restraint and the national gifts of discipline, production and tolerance.
She said: "Peace for the Christian is more than the absence of war or conflict; it is wholeness, wellbeing, prosperity and safety which come from One Source, God, resides in one place, our heart, and is nurtured in one space, covenant relationship with God which provides a steady stream that nourishes the soul and flows outward to others.
"Christians, do not, however, have a monopoly on peace. People interpret peace differently – but what is agreed is that it transcends understanding and comes from within, it is a state of contentment, security and tranquillity which remains unaffected even while we are being buffeted by the vicissitudes of life."
She added, "We all know someone, who in the face of the most severe hardship, maintains a cheerful and calm disposition; not because they are in denial but because they are at peace with themselves and the world. When one is at peace, there is an irresistible impulse to spread that blessing to others.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Let us actively pursue peace and make it an integral part of our lives."