“Today, 2.2 billion Christians around the world are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. For them, and for all who will spend the day in fellowship with family and friends, Christmas is a 2,000-year-old tradition that binds people together across the span of history.
“The Christmas story, from the journey to Bethlehem, to the birth of Christ in a manger, is rich in meaning, inspiring all of us to acts of love and charity. Albertans of every faith and from all walks of life will pause to reflect on the story, and welcome the hope and joy that flows from it.
“Traditional Christmas celebrations in Canada reach deep into our past. As befits our forested boreal land, history records that North America’s first Christmas tree decoration occurred in Canada. It was in 1781, and the occasion was a Christmas Eve party hosted by Baroness Riedesel for German and British military officers in Sorel, Que. Decorating a balsam fir was the highlight of the party, launching the tradition that continues to this day in homes across our country and around the world.
“At Christmastime, let us all have a thought for those who are alone. Small acts of kindness and generosity, especially for those without family members, are wonderful ways to celebrate the Christmas spirit.
To one and all: Merry Christmas!”