Christmas message from President James A Michel

24 December 2013 | State House

The joyous time of Christmas has come to warm our hearts again. Many people, especially the children, long for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. There are many preparations for this most wonderful of occasions, filled with the sense of renewal and hope after a year of events. That is why here in Seychelles, and for countless of millions all over the world, Christmas is a very special time of the year.We learn from Christmas that little Jesus was born in humble surroundings, in a stable among shepherds, and not in a palace. He taught us to think of ourselves less, so that we have the place in our hearts for the love we wish to share with others. We learn from Him that we can achieve success from modesty. We should never lose the spiritual significance, the sanctity and the humanity of Christmas. As our nation embarks on a revitalisation of the many aspects of our Creole culture, and in the face of the mounting pressure of consumerism, we should devote a little more effort towards the preservation of the essence of Christmas. It will enlighten us spiritually in a greater way.

As we express the values of this festive occasion we dedicate our prayers and our deeds to our dear Seychellois children, our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate. My family and I thank the nuns, the church and governmental agencies, and also the civil society groups for caring for our children in the special homes.  Every year we look forward to hearing the children sing the carols.  We are touched by their performance. They are the ones who collectively fill our hearts with the most happiness during this time of year. We love them.

Our special thoughts at this time of year are always with the less fortunate members of our society. Among them are the mostly young men and women who are suffering from substance addiction, the convicts undergoing rehabilitation, the single parents, the vulnerable, the boys and girls in children’s homes, the disabled, the homeless, the sick in hospital and at home, the elderly.  We thank God for the togetherness Christmas brings to our homes and society.  We pray for changes in our lifestyles, for the better Seychelles, for the peace and happiness of all our people.

Our wish this Christmas is that our flock of generous people will grow to spread goodwill, peace, happiness and love among the nation. Christmas is, after all, the special time of the year for giving and sharing. We show solidarity with the families who are facing difficulties.  There are elderly citizens who are staying alone. They, too, will cherish a moment of company with a kind neighbour.  Christmas will only be real and meaningful in the lives of all of us when we reach out to people in need. Acts of kindness bind us as a people; they build our peaceful nation. Good deeds nurture compassion.

We end the year with a sense of accomplishment. Again, we have worked hard to continue moving our country forward. Our discipline and collective sacrifices of the recent past are bearing fruit. We can now look forward to a new year of greater prosperity for all, as we will be sharing more of the economic gains from our success. However, it is important that we remain responsible citizens so as to contribute effectively to the common good of our beloved nation. A lot more remains to be done to bring increased prosperity to our people.

My family and I thank the churches, the choirs, the religious groups and the business community for spreading the spirit of Christmas all over the land. The decorations in our capital, Victoria, are impressive, probably the best ever. Indeed, we are enjoying a truly bright Christmas!  
We think of the men and women in uniform who are protecting our country. Because of their vigilance, our nation has been spared the trauma of pirate attacks. We are all home this Christmas.  Our thoughts are also with the officers of the Police force, all the dedicated workers who are on duty on Christmas day in the essential and emergency services, in the hospitality industry and transportation services. We are grateful to all of them for ensuring that the rest of us are able to enjoy the festive season in peace and comfort. We have much to rejoice. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the abundant blessings God showers on our nation.   My family and I wish the Seychellois people, here on our islands and all over the world, and all visitors to our shores, a joyous and peaceful Christmas.

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