[WATCH] Christmas messages: what world leaders have said so far

Calls for unity, forgiveness, and messages of praise, stand in stark contrast to each other in this year’s Christmas messages from various political and religious leaders around the world 

Pope Francis

Speaking at the St Peters Basilica in the Vatican on Christmas Eve, Pope Francis dedicated his Christmas message to migrants refugees, who he likened to Mary and Joseph in their journey to Bethlehem.

Recounting the biblical story, the pontiff said that “so many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary,” referring to the millions of people who are forced to leave their homes. He said that he hopes that nobody feels that “there is no room for them on this earth,” as Mary and Joseph also came to a place “where there was no place for them.”

“We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones.”

 

Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump on the other hand, had a message for US troops stationed outside of the country: “we’re winning.”

Wishing military members a ‘Merry Christmas’ and praising them for their work, the president emphasised that Americans now extend these wishes “very proudly” again.

He told members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, stationed in Qatar, Kuwait and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that their military families are “the greatest people on earth” and that thanks to them, the country is “winning” the war against terrorism.

 

Theresa May

Making reference to Christian values and the UK’s Christian heritage, the Prime minister called for unity while thanking the armed forces, emergency services, aid workers and volunteers working over Christmas.

"The heroes in our emergency services, whose courage and dedication so inspired the nation in response to tragedy at Grenfell Tower and the abhorrent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. But whose service saves lives in our communities every day, including Christmas Day,”

"As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us celebrate all those selfless acts - and countless others - that epitomise the values we share: Christian values of love, service and compassion that are lived out every day in our country by people all faiths and none,”

"Let us take pride in our Christian heritage and the confidence it gives us to ensure that in Britain you can practice your faith free from question or fear.”

 



Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Christmas message highlighted the reputation of Canadians as friendly and generous people, saying that Canadian citizens showed “strength in diversity”, and that they are “neighbours helping neighbours, sharing warmth, compassion and generosity — not just at Christmas, but year round.”

"As the 150th anniversary of Confederation draws to a close, all of us have a role to play in shaping our world for the better," the Liberal leader said. "In the new year, and throughout the years to come, let's commit to making a difference. Whether by lending a hand to a neighbour, or volunteering for a cause we believe in, let's give generously, and live out the values that bring us together."

"Let's also reach out and listen — to those next door, across the aisle, and at the dinner table," his message said. "Building a better world starts where we work and live, in our communities, and at home."

"During the holidays, I also ask you take a moment to remember our brave service women and men, and their families. They make extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe."

 

Uhuru Kenyatta

On Christmas eve, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Kenyan citizens to unite and forgive each other in the spirit of Christmas.

“This is not the time to look back, this is not the time to nurse the grudges of the past. This is the time to forgive, and to look forward to the renewal that God promises in the birth of this child,” he said, explaining that forgiveness is in the ‘heart of being Kenyan.

“But renewal will not happen unless we resolve to build up our brothers and sisters. So instead of recrimination, let us join hands in common work: let us feed the hungry; let us house the homeless; let us give work to those who have none; and let us bring medicine to those who are ill.”

 

King Felipe

Spain's King Felipe dedicated his Christmas message to the newly elected Catalonian parliament, four days after the regional parliamentary elections which put the separatist parties back in power, and after what he called a “difficult year” for Spain.

“The way forward cannot once again lead to confrontation or exclusion that, as we now know, only generates discord, uncertainty, anguish,”

“2017 for Spain has been, without a doubt, a difficult year for our commonwealth, a year marked, above all, by the situation in Catalonia. [Catalonia’s] leaders must face the problems that affect all Catalans, respecting their diversity and thinking responsibly in the common good.”

The king asked regional leaders to help "Catalonia's society, diverse and plural as it is, to recover its serenity, stability, and mutual respect in such a way as to ensure that ideas don't divide or separate families and friends.

 



Benjamin Netanyahu

Urging Christians to visit Israel by offering them a ‘personal tour’, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished a ‘Merry Christmas’ to all Christian citizens of Israel and ‘Christian friends around the world’.

“It’s a pleasure for me, on Christmas eve, to be here, standing in Jerusalem, the holy city,”

“I’m proud that Israel is a country in which Christians not only survive, but they thrive! Because we believe in this friendship among people. And we protect the rights of everyone to worship in the holy shrines behind me,” 

 

Jeremy Corbyn

In contrast to the UK prime minister, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did not make any religious remarks, but instead encouraged people to show sympathy towards those who are “cut off and lonely” during the holiday season.

"And abroad we think of those living in nations like Yemen, Syria and Libya in fear of bombs and bullets, of injury and death.

"None of this is inevitable. We pride ourselves on being a compassionate nation.”

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