“Blessed Christmas to all members of our Apostolic, Orthodox and Eastern Christian communities who are celebrating the Julian Christmas this week.
“Your communities have done so much to enrich Alberta. You have all contributed immensely to this province: from the Ukrainian pioneers who arrived in this place over a century ago to plough virgin soil and help settle the Canadian Prairies, right up to recent arrivals as refugees from the Middle East – people who have faced persecution, but now have the protection, security and the religious freedom given by Canada.
“To all of you as you gather with your families and your communities this week, I hope that you’ll have an enriching celebration of the Feast of the Nativity.
“There’s an ancient Arabic Christmas chant that says:
‘Today is born of a virgin, He who holds the whole creation in His hand. Today, he whose essence none can touch, is bound in swaddling clothes, as a child.’
“That is the miracle of Christmas, and we can help to demonstrate that in our own lives, through small acts of kindness, especially to those who are in need. I encourage all Albertans at this time of year to live the idea of Christmas as a gift, by giving of yourselves to those who are less fortunate, by reaching out to those who might be alone or isolated. And by thanking, especially, our emergency personnel who care for us over the holidays.
“So to all of our Apostolic, Eastern and Orthodox communities, to all of you celebrating Byzantine Christmas today and this week, may you be richly blessed.