Bringing out the best in us — Christmas Message from NFP
Thursday 24th December 2020
As we celebrate Christmas this year, we must not forget that many of our fellow citizens are reeling from the devastating impact of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa. And many, many thousands of others, especially our ordinary workers have been unemployed due to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.
All great difficulties have to be met and managed with overwhelming courage—both in ourselves and in our fellow citizens. Be encouraged by the thought that all storms pass and that the sun shall rise again.
It is times like these that bring out the best of us. The best of our efforts, our energies and skills. This is when, in true Fijian spirit, we unite and bind together to help our fellow Fijians in need.
When I visited the devasted areas in the North last week, I met many people who; all in their own ways; are making a real contribution to their community. I came across examples of unselfish service in all walks of life and in many unexpected places. We extend our deep gratitude to hundreds of good Samaritans who have sacrificed their holidays to come to the aid of our cyclone-stricken victims.
Some people choose their occupation so that they can spend their lives in the service of their fellow citizens.
We see doctors, nurses and hospital staff caring for the sick; those in the churches and religious communities; in the Government; in the armed service; in the police and in the courts and prisons; in industry and commerce.
We unite as a nation during both triumphant days and times of adversity. And right now there is an abundance of goodwill, generosity and unity that gives true meaning to the spirit of Christmas.
It is the same urge to make a contribution which drives those seeking the highest standards in education or art, in music or architecture.
Others find ways to give service in their spare time, through voluntary organizations or simply on their own individual initiative contributing in a thousand ways to make our country better.
It may be providing company for the old; help for the disabled; care for the deprived and those in trouble; concern for neighbours or encouragement for the young.
To all of you on this Christmas Day, whatever your conditions of work and life, easy or difficult; whether you feel that you are achieving something or whether you feel frustrated; I want to say a word of thanks.
And I include all those who don't realize that they deserve thanks and are content that what they do is unseen and unrewarded. The very act of living a decent and upright life is in itself a positive factor in making our nation better.
We face grave problems in the life of our country, but those that came before us, and many alive today, have faced far greater difficulties, both in peace and war, and have overcome them through courage and calm determination. They never lost hope and they never lacked confidence in themselves or in their children.
In difficult times we may be tempted to find excuses for self-indulgence and to wash our hands of responsibility. Christmas stands for the opposite. The Wise Men and the Shepherds remind us that it is not enough simply to do our jobs; we need to go out and look for opportunities to help those less fortunate than ourselves, even if that service demands sacrifice.
It was their belief and confidence in God which inspired them to visit the stable and it is this unselfish will to serve that will see us through the difficulties we face.
We know that the world can never be free from disasters, conflict and pain, but Christmas also draws our attention to all that is hopeful and good in this changing world; it defines values and qualities that are true and permanent and it reminds us that the world we would like to see can only come from the goodness of the heart.
May God bless our country, and a Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Professor Biman Prasad