Fellow Maltese and Gozitans,
As I do every year, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my best wishes to you and your families for this festive season.
I welcome with pleasure this opportunity to enter your homes, in an atmosphere of warmth and joy, spread throughout Malta and Gozo.
Another year has passed, and it is worth using the next few minutes to reflect on what we have been through, and to look at what we would like to see happen in the coming months.
Looking back at the year 2022, we see that the challenges have not decreased, neither locally nor internationally.
Who could have predicted, this time last year, that Europe would be hit by a war? Eighty years have passed since the Second World War, and it seems that we have not learned the lesson that aggression and invasion have no place in today’s world.
The situation in Ukraine is nothing but a rejection of the fundamental principles underlying the civilised world.
As I have done since the outbreak of the war on 24th February, I convey my solidarity and yours to the resolved People of Ukraine who are currently going through the rigours of a terrible winter, many of whom without any comfort and out in the cold.
I thank all of you for showing great empathy and generosity to those Ukrainians who stayed in their land and others who came among us here in Malta. It was another occasion where the Maltese, the Gozitans, and also the foreigners among us opened wide their kind hearts.
As Malta will take its place in the United Nations Security Council in just a few days, my hope is to find a lasting solution for this war, and other conflicts, which are stifling the peace and stability we all wish to see around us.
I am convinced that Malta will give its consistent and determined contribution towards this goal.
Locally, this was another year of new and consolidated challenges that we will have to address in the coming months and others to which we need to be much more sensitive as a People.
Our society requires us to treat more seriously and give the deserved attention to important subjects that, if we fail to address them, will continue to harm those already suffering.
Many times, throughout the year, you have heard me stressing the need for no one to be left behind and for society not to forget anyone behind.
We must put aside the attraction of material achievements and strive more towards the common good.
Poverty exists, and in many different forms and degrees.
There are those who are struggling themselves or have lost a family member to destructive drug or drinking addictions. Others are consumed by gambling.
There are those for whom home means cruelty, beatings, and threats instead of warmth and happiness.
There are children and youths broken by bullying, which takes away the serenity of childhood and in turn bring tension, fear, and loneliness.
I really appreciate how at this time of the year everyone feels more generous.
As if hearts soften.
But solidarity and empathy should not be just a hollow December trend, and we forget them as soon as we take down Christmas decorations.
We have to get used to showing them all year round.
Thus, I would like the year 2023 to be one where we all give more help to each other, to our families, at the workplace, in schools, to the elderly and to those in need.
Money and property are not everything!
I take this opportunity to thank all the People for their support to the Office of the President in the many initiatives aimed at relieving these sufferings.
It is very encouraging to know that despite the difficulties that may arise, you are always ready to provide any help you can give.
Compassion and altruism should reach everyone, including foreigners living in Malta and Gozo.
There should be no distinction between the dignity enjoyed by the Maltese and that enjoyed by foreigners, wherever they come from.
I now wish to convey my best wishes for the Festive Season to all foreign communities in Malta. It is my hope that whatever your creed or religion, you feel part of the spirit of solidarity and altruism that marks Maltese celebrations at this time of the year.
I take this occasion to thank you all for the enriching contributions you make to our social fabric and urge you to participate in all initiatives and events intended to consolidate your connections and bond with your adoptive home, Malta.
I wish you and your loved ones, all the very best.
My final message is to those among us who are sick, and those going through mental health struggles.
For those going through hardships, this season rather than joy, often brings more sadness and dismay.
My appeal to you is to continue to seek help, both from professionals and from those around you.
Surely any gesture of affection, no matter how small, will relieve your suffering.
For my part, I promise you that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
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.