Governor’s Christmas Message
by Lieutenant General Edward Davis
For most of us, it is, perhaps, a little harder each year to remember the real meaning of Christmas in the midst of our hectic, stressful, and non-stop lives.
It is, therefore, important, at this potentially most wonderful time of year, that we pause to remind ourselves that a ‘real’ Christmas is not a festive season, it is a festive mindset.
A mindset well captured in the words of the American religious author, Thomas Monson. Thomas said: “Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self, and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing true values”.
At this most wonderful time of year, let us all embrace Thomas Monson’s mindset to ensure we truly appreciate, treasure and celebrate the greatest gift of all around our Christmas trees: the people we love.
Sadly, this is the last Christmas that Lorraine and I will be able to savour the company of our friends around the Convent Christmas tree.
A very special privilege, indeed; and one that we have been blessed to have experienced on 4 occasions during our amazing time on the Rock. Thank you Gibraltar for this greatest of gifts.
When I was sworn in as your Governor in Gibraltar’s Parliament in January 2016, the first and foremost desire of Lorraine and I was to get to know and understand of the People of Gibraltar.
A much-anticipated prospect; as having spoken to a number of our predecessors, it was abundantly clear that “to know the people of Gibraltar, is to deeply admire, respect and enjoy them”.
At the time, Lorraine and I had no doubt we would feel exactly the same. And we were right.
Albeit, I will be saying to my successor that “to know the People of Gibraltar, is not only to deeply admire, respect and enjoy them, but also, to deeply love them”.
When I reflect on our sublime 4-year journey of getting to know and understand the Gibraltarian People, I am invariably drawn to the words of Her Majesty and Sir Joshua Hassan when, approaching 66 years ago, Her Majesty visited the Rock and had lunch here in the Convent.
In his address at the lunch, Sir Joshua Hassan welcomed Her Majesty by remarking “this small Rock may be the smallest of Your Majesty’s possessions but the loyalty of its inhabitants to the British Crown is second to none”.
A Gibraltarian ‘vow of honour’ that, in my humble opinion, defines the Rock’s identity, character and destiny.
A Gibraltarian ‘vow of honour’ that I believe underpins the Rock’s decisive strength: its respectful, inclusive, generous steadfastness towards one another, the Great British Family, and the Rock’s myriad, and growing number, of friends around the globe.
In Her reply to Sir Joshua Her Majesty clearly agreed, and indeed, went even further, by contending that Gibraltar proved, beyond doubt, that you do not have to be big to be mighty.
She said: “The Rock is famous for three things: for the loyalty of its People; for its inviolable strength as a Fortress; and for the important strategic part it has played on so many different occasions”.
My personal contention, jumping forward 6 decades, is that Global Gibraltar remains, very much, an important supporting ‘bridge’ between Global Britain’s Atlantic, Mediterranean, European and African ambitions and possibilities.
And, that is why I believe our Smart Rock’s ‘red and white kite of aspiration’ will continue to soar high as it flies confidently, imaginatively and determinedly in the face of tomorrow’s uncertain, complex and volatile winds of change.
Not only as an inviolable military Fortress but also as a world-leading digitally-enabled business hub.
As ever, during every festive season, I know that many Gibraltarians will be working for at least some of the holiday period. To you, the people that, perhaps, exhibit the true festive mindset more than most, I offer a heartfelt thank-you for sacrificing your time, with your family and friends, so the rest of Gibraltar can be with those that we love and cherish.
There is no greater sacrifice than sacrificing something you hold dear for the sake of someone else.
We are especially indebted to Gibraltar’s dedicated and dependable law enforcement, first responder, military, healthcare and charitable organisations that will be working throughout the holiday period to keep our Community safe and care for those in our Community in need.
Everyday you make a unique and material difference to the well-being of the People of Gibraltar. Thank you for standing up to volunteer to serve your Community. Nothing is more selfless, noble or vital.
Wherever and whatever you are doing during this holiday period, Lorraine and I wish you a most wonderful Christmas and a healthy, happy and successful New Year.
Merry Christmas Gibraltar.