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Florida Voices: Holiday Wishes

December 21, 2011 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott

The Christmas season is a time to celebrate with friends and family. It is also a time to celebrate the blessings that are bestowed upon us and the birth of our Lord," the Scotts stated in a release from the governor's office.

"In the spirit of this joyous season, Ann and I want to wish all Floridians a Merry Christmas.

We would also like to offer our sincere thanks to Americas servicemen and women. Because of the sacrifice of our armed forces and their families, the United States continues to be the greatest country in the world. Everyone involved in our countrys defense is in our prayers this Christmas.

As Floridians celebrate, we must also remember the many families that are still experiencing unemployment. We remain focused on ensuring that everyone in Florida who wants a job has the opportunity to get one, and that our children have access to good quality education. The love and compassion that Floridas citizens display toward one another during this time of year is an inspiration. It is truly a reminder that we live in the greatest state in the nation.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

"As the year comes to a close, I cant help but look back and reflect on all that has happened - doing so with appreciation for the friendship, support and suggestions of so many of you.

"At this special time of year, my wife Grace and I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and the best of the Holiday Season and, a wonderful New Year. We hope the blessings of the season will allow you to share time with your family and closest friends.

"With that said, its important to keep in mind there are many folks in Florida, and all over, who arent as fortunate. Whether suffering from economic hardship or being separated from their family and loved ones, like our thousands of men and women in uniform and our civilian public servants abroad, all of them shall be in our thoughts and prayers.

"And let us all remember the greeting that has rung throughout the ages: on earth peace, good will toward men.

Attorney General Pam Bondi

As we gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas, we must reflect on our many blessings. This is also a time when we find ways to give back to our communities and remember our fellow Floridians who are less fortunate.

I am grateful to live in such a wonderful state, and I wish you a Merry Christmas filled with love and joy.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami

"Seasons greetings! Its that time of year again. Its the time of year when we gather with kin to celebrate the spirit of the season. Its that special time when families come together to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. Its the time of year when we are all a little merrier and a little friendlier; it is the time of year when we rejoice in the joy of Christmas and we commemorate the miracles of Hanukkah. And today, I am very happy to extend to you and your families my best wishes and warmest greetings this holiday season.

"... Hanukkah commemorates the joyous rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after Jews in the land of Israel successfully revolted against foreign rule ... Jewish people will gather around their menorahs to light the Hanukkah candles while reciting the Hanukkah blessings and singing traditional holiday songs. Parents will give their children foods cooked in oil -- like potato pancakes and doughnuts filled with jelly or custard -- and they will exchange gifts and play the dreidel game.

"They will come together and recount the story of Judah and the Maccabbees and remember the miracle by which the small Jewish nation was able to defeat a big and powerful enemy, and they will remember the miracle of the olive oil burning for eight nights when a one-day supply was all that was left.

"And so, Hanukkah serves as a symbol of the victory of good over evil; of light over darkness. It reminds the Jewish people that their light will never be extinguished. And as Hanukkah serves as a symbol of light for Jews, Christmas serves as a symbol of light for Christians.

"On Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians of all denominations are called to reflect the compassion, humanity and humility Christ showed to all those with whom He came in contact. This Christmas we will each celebrate the birth of Christ in our own unique way; some with prayer and some with feast. But we will all celebrate with merriment and love. We will gather with our friends and families and continue the traditions passed down from generation to generation starting new traditions along the way. Indeed, there is no greater joy than spending time with family, friends, and loved ones over the holidays.

"Friends and families will exchange gifts, and look on with great delight when we see the joy our gifts have brought to others. We will retell old stories of Christmases past while we share a Christmas meal. But most importantly, we will revel in the satisfaction of just being in the company of those who we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts.

"But the true spirit of Christmas lasts longer in our hearts than just one day on the calendar. We see it every day when we see people help their neighbor or when we see the pure unadulterated joy in a childs eyes. We feel it when we see love and happiness. And we should strive to keep and honor this spirit year-round.

"May these happy days bless you and your family as I have been blessed. Keep love and kindness in your heart and I am sure that you will find it returned in full. From my family to yours, I wish you all a very Happy Hanukkah, and a very Merry Christmas."

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater


Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg

"As we enter the 2011 holiday season, I want to take a moment to thank you for your kind and generous support since selecting me as your state representative in 2010. I continue to work hard to bring limited government, strong education initiatives and common sense solutions to the problems facing our city, county and state. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve.

"During Christmas, we give thanks for the blessing of Christ's birth and the blessings that surround us every day of the year. As Americans, we have much to be thankful for but we also bare a responsibility to help those in need. Jesus calls on us to help others and by carrying out acts of kindness toward the less fortunate we fulfill the spirit of Christmas.

"Natalie and I hope that you will challenge yourself to find new pathways of service in the coming year and to help those less fortunate during these challenging economic times. I truly believe we live in the greatest city and county in the state of Florida and are surrounded by caring and compassionate people. Please take an extra moment to reflect on the gifts God has given and reach out to those in need.

"I am especially thankful to the members of our Armed Forces serving to protect our country and secure the blessings of freedom for others throughout the world. As many of our troops begin to return home from Iraq, it is my hope that you will take a moment to seek out our neighbors, friends and family who served our country in uniform and thank them for their sacrifice. All of us are indebted to these men and women and their families for their courage to serve and devotion to the ideals that make our country strong.

"Natalie, Lottie, Colin and I send out our warmest thoughts and best wishes for a Happy Holiday and a very Happy New Year."

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