PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — It’s Christmas time again, and for others it’s just the holiday season. Whatever you may be celebrating this is a time to celebrate. It is a time to celebrate all the good times this year and, most importantly, life. I take this time to wish you a Blessed and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our residents and visitors alike.
If you’ve managed to return home given travel restrictions as a result of the world pandemic, a WARM, WARM welcome home to you. To those of you who may be spending Christmas away from home, a Happy Holiday to you and your loved ones where ever you are.
To all our students especially those all around the world, a very special and warm holiday greeting to you. We appreciate your commitment to your education and would like to invite you to bring the spirit of a St. Maarten Christmas where ever you are. Simply because there is nothing better than a “Christmas morning in St. Maarten.” For us, Christmas and the holiday season will always be about what matters most; family, time with family, relationships and most certainly food.
Many of us will be celebrating differently this year with travel restrictions, financial restrictions and also our new normal of social distancing. However, let us not forget that Christmas is all about the greatest gift of all. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; Isiah Chapter 9: Verse 6. This is the reason we celebrate, and an excellent reason it is to celebrate, indeed.
For this reason, during these challenging times, I ask each and every St. Maartener to focus on the act of giving for it is such a fulfilling thing to bless those who need it most. Let us take care of each other in this holiday season. Let us share what we have and what we can. This is truly the spirit of Christmas, and moreover the spirit of the resilient nation that is St. Maarten.
The holidays are also a time to reflect. 2020 has indeed been a challenging year, with COVID-19 and all the different issues that has come about from its onset. I know there are families still out there who do not have the means to meet their needs and those still suffering as a result of loss of a loved one, whether due to COVID-19 or another reason. During this holiday season we remember those who succumbed to the COVID-19 virus, other illnesses, tragically and otherwise. For their loved one this will be a very tough one; a first without their beloved mom, dad, brother, sister, grandparent or special someone.
For many of us, the holiday season is a break. However, this does not ring true for everyone. At this time we pay gratitude to those who continue to selflessly put their celebrations on holds such as our Police force, nursing staff, doctors and other front liners within our community.
Remember to celebrate this holiday season by moving smart and avoiding large gatherings when out in the community. Adhere to the COVID-19 protocols implemented by government. Mask usage remains mandatory, wash your hands frequently or hand sanitize when that is not possible and keep a 2 meter distance from others when out in public.
As government continues to implement safe and responsible measures for entering the destination such as rapid antigen testing, COVID-19 ‘Prevention & Safety Plan’ for businesses to remain open and early night closures of businesses, it is of utmost importance that we celebrate the holidays taking our brothers and sisters into consideration. You may be protecting a loved one by being responsible.
In closing, let us take this time to reflect on what is truly important to us as a nation and appreciate God’s blessings and grace. Take this time to show gratitude for what we do have; ‘this beautiful nation we call home.’ Give thanks and show appreciation to the most high for life, love, family, health, blessings, and lessons from which we can grow.
On behalf of the Government of St. Maarten, I wish you all a safe, blessed and Merry Christmas. May God continue to bless St. Maarten and her people wherever they may be.