Fellow Maltese and Gozitans,
First of all, my wife and I wish you a Merry Christmas and hope that you are enjoying these festive days with your relatives and loved ones, in an atmosphere of warmth and true friendship.
I value this yearly message not only because it brings me into your homes at this wondrous time, but also because I feel that it should serve as a reflection on what we have gone through over the last few months and on our plans for the future.
This should ultimately help us to lead better lives, both as individuals and as a community.
We have faced and will still face challenges.
But as we have already shown, we have the necessary abilities and determination to overcome them like we overcame other challenges.
I do not need to elaborate on the huge commitment and the huge sacrifices required due to the pandemic.
We all experienced this, in one way or another, over the past year.
Thus, I thank all of you fellow Maltese and Gozitans, and the foreign residents among us, for the cooperation and sense of discipline you have shown all together so that the country continues to follow health regulations.
We took care of ourselves and of each other.
This, in itself, is a noble gesture that has helped our society stay as safe as possible.
My message to you is to listen to the advice of medical experts and make full use of the vaccines recommended. In our country we are very lucky that the vaccination process was and still is very efficient.
Let us not miss this opportunity to fight this virus together, and together build a future where our collective health is still safeguarded in the best possible way.
It is good to look back and learn from what we have been through, but it is more important to look ahead with hope and courage.
We have learned many lessons that we must not ignore, including on how our relationships have been affected.
It is good to reflect on whether we could have behaved better towards those around us, perhaps we should have avoided to use harsh words or to criticise without considering the consequences, and whether we have ignored those most in need.
Perhaps due to the challenges, and even fears, brought about by the pandemic, we focused too much on our own interests, and were not sensitive as much towards others.
In this context, I want us all to look ahead to the New Year with a stronger spirit of solidarity and a sense of respect for one another.
This applies for us adults who are supposed to set an example for our young ones, but who often fall into the trap of prejudice and personal confrontation, harsh words when meeting face to face and, even worse, unacceptable behaviour on social media.
Maybe we pay little attention to the effect our actions will have on the individuals or group of people we are addressing, on their mental health, and on their families.
Regrettably, we had, and still have, dreadful examples around us.
Sometimes we might have been passive in the face of physical or mental harm, or we have shown indifference to those among us who had to leave their country to escape war, violence, or discrimination.
We all agree that there is no easy solution.
Tolerance, compassion, and inclusion cannot grow or strengthen if we do not put our efforts in and, above all, we must instil them as basic values into our children, through education.
I always use the example of young children, who are not tainted by the prejudices that we adults have inherited or are creating ourselves.
We adults, parents, and grandparents should look at them and learn.
None of these innocent children hesitate to speak to their neighbours because they are foreigners, because they come from a family of different political opinion, because they believe in another religion, or because their skin colour is different.
This does not even run through children’s minds.
We all must bear these values in mind every day in the family, in schools, at the workplace and in places of entertainment.
Education and good examples play a key role in achieving these goals.
Only this ensures social unity and avoids unnecessary tensions in our society.
I also must do my part through the work of the Presidency and will continue to work with anyone willing to contribute. I hope that the New Year will bring initiatives and projects in these fields, designed to continue to bring us closer to each other as People, while fully protecting democracy and applying the laws of our country that ensure the rule of law.
In my message today, I cannot fail to mention with special love our sick loved ones, some of whom are undergoing treatment both in Malta and abroad.
I want to reassure them and tell them to take courage… you are not forgotten.
I also want to convey a message of comfort to their families as we know that this might be a very hard time for them because of the weight and responsibility on their shoulders to take care of their loved ones.
Above all, I tell you not to feel alone, because you are in our thoughts and prayers.
This is a time of unity, and a time of love.
I could not convey a genuine message for these Holidays, if not one focused on those who, due to illness, exclusion, and other hardships in life, can hardly enjoy Christmas as wished and hoped.
In conclusion, my wife and I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of happiness, peace and, above all, health.