Mayor Martin's Festive Message

December 24, 2021

As we look forward to taking some well earned time this Christmas to reflect on and enjoy the togetherness that the festive season can bring, it is my privilege to share some thoughts with you as First Citizen.

Christmas brings so much joy and excitement.  In our home the girls are eager for the big day to arrive and I am equally ready for the Elf on the Shelf to depart for another year.  As the busy preparations give way to hoped for fun and laughter, I am mindful against the backdrop of a pandemic that for many Christmas is also a time of real challenge.  I am thankful to everyone who with this in mind thought of others by donating to one of our local Foodbanks, giving to a Toy Appeal of simply by lending a helping hand to another in our community this Christmas.  What a wonderful act of kindness by so many so that others can share in this special time of year.

Consideration of others is central to what makes Lisburn & Castlereagh the community we are.  2021 can rightly be judged another extraordinary year.  This Christmas I would encourage you to stop for a moment to take stock.  We are all tired but to all our health, social care and essential workers keeping us safe and well we remain indebted to you for your public service.  How fortunate we are to live in the community we do.  I look forward to the day we can properly acknowledge your invaluable efforts.  In the meantime we can all do our part as a community to show our togetherness and concern for each other by following public health guidance. 

While the last 12 months have been challenging, gritty, hard, down right heart breaking sometimes think of all those special heart lifting inspirational moments scattered throughout along the way.  Take time to be grateful to and for each other.  Grateful for someone who had helped you, journeyed with you, worked or learned with you, advised you, supported you, given to or shared with you, spoken to you, seen you and gone out of their way to be with you despite their own plans.  Whoever it is you find yourself grateful for, whether they present with you this Christmas or elsewhere, let them know.

We have proven ourselves to be a connected community one linked by family and friendship.  We must always try to do better.  Reach out, break down hidden barriers, take the time, look others in the eye and express appreciation with a smile.  Togetherness is only ever one phone (or Zoom!) call away. 

In today’s world the unfaltering Christmas message of Hope and Peace remains am ever-present source of strength and purpose.  Advent is a time that many set aside to reflect on the Nativity and its focus Hope and Peace.  I am grateful for all those in pastoral roles who have shared the burden of so many across Lisburn & Castlereagh this last year mindful they too should be held up by us all to sustain their good works moving forward.

My wish this Christmas is that you are blessed and encouraged by faith and family, friends and fellowship.  May the smiles of loved ones and the warm conversations with others allow you time and space to pause and refill your sense of self as we together step forward to face whatever lies ahead with renewed hope and connection. 

As Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and all that is good in 2022.