From the Hon. Julianna O'Connor-Connolly, Deputy Premier and Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture
Washington Irving said, "Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
I could not have said it better. Christmas is a time for celebrating with family and friends the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who as God's only Son, came to earth and gave His life so that we may live. His actions and His words remind us that service to others is central to our lives and that sacrifice and unconditional love must guide us and inspire us to lead lives of compassion, mercy, and justice.
The true spirit of Christmas reflects a dedication to helping those in need, to giving hope to those in despair, and to spreading peace and understanding throughout the earth. As we share love and enjoy the traditions of this holiday, we should also remember those that are less fortunate and lend a hand to those that are in need.
I would like to thank all the organisations and people on these three islands who have and are helping those who are in need and are thereby demonstrating the generosity and universal goodwill that is so much a part of Christmas. Lending a hand does not require costly gifts; rather the simple human contact such as a hug, a visit, a kind word and sharing food with a neighbour all count for much and are just as effective as a financial offering.
Along with the presents that they like to receive, it behooves us to remind our children of the true meaning of Christmas - and those values such as the twinkle of a child's eye, the joy of a grandmother's laughter, the love in the hearts of mothers and fathers for their children -- all these blessings should be unwrapped on Christmas morning and then lived throughout the year.
I can remember a simpler time when the smell of apples in the air told us it was Christmas. We were also reminded when people cleaned up their yards and put down fresh sand. It was also the time of year that the men came home from sea - a time that families reunited. While those traditions have been replaced, due to the passage of time, Christmas is still a time for family and for celebration. It is a joyous occasion.
I know that 2011 has been hard for many in our community as the effects of the global recession continue to be felt in many countries, including ours. Notwithstanding this, let us remember to be thankful for God's rich blessing and make every effort to be kind to one another.
May the joy of the holidays renew our commitment to working together for a future of peace, opportunity, and hope. From my family to yours, I wish everyone on these Cayman Islands a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.