POLITICS
12/25/2013 12:45 EST | Updated 02/24/2014 05:59 EST

In Stephen Harper's Christmas Message, PM Calls For Reflection (VIDEO)

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has issued a brief message to mark the Christmas season.

He says it is a time for ‘‘joyful reunions with family and friends, a time to reflect on our good fortune, and a time to remember those in our midst who have less.‘‘

Harper adds that as Canadians count their ‘‘many blessings,‘‘ he asks that we also ‘‘give a moment to our brave men and women in uniform.‘‘

Harper asks that we offer a ‘‘thought and a prayer for them and their families.‘‘

In his Christmas message issued early Wednesday, Governor General David Johnston also aimed his remarks at member of the military and their families.

He said the recent deaths of Forces members are a reminder of the stresses in the military and the mental health challenges personnel can face.

At least four apparent military suicides occurred this month in different parts of the country, reigniting a debate around how Canada treats returning veterans.

Photo gallery Harper's Children Then And Now See Gallery

Here is the text of the message

“Merry Christmas, everybody.

“And Happy New Year too!

“This is a wonderful season.

“A time for joyful reunions with family and friends, a time to reflect on our good fortune, and a time to remember those in our midst who have less.

“As we count our many blessings, let us also give a moment to our brave men and women in uniform.

“I’d ask you to offer a thought and a prayer for them and their families.

“Friends, as Canadians from coast to coast to coast prepare for this joyous season, I want to wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday, a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and a prosperous New Year.”