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CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2016
I bring you greetings of peace hope and goodwill on this Christmas day. Christmas fills a deep yearning in the human spirit: A yearning for togetherness, harmony, peace, love and unity.
Human beings were designed for fellowship and friendship. Christmas takes us back to those true values; to the real meaning of life. It clears away the clutter and noise of our everyday live and focuses our attention on the things that really matter:
A right relationship with our Creator;
Bonding with our family and friends;
caring for those less fortunate and,
cherishing the weak and vulnerable.
It is so easy in the cut and thrust of life to get absorbed in ourselves and in our own pursuits. Sometimes family and friends are sacrificed on the altar of our quest to get ahead. Sometimes we forget the kindnesses, the acts of graciousness and the compassion which should really characterize our lives. Christmas reminds us of all of this and gives us an opportunity, yet again, to recommit to the things of lasting value.
Occasionally, we become nostalgic and talk about old time Christmas in Jamaica. But today I want to tell you about my vision of Christmas in a future Jamaica—a Jamaica we can build and a Christmas reality we can create with God’s help.
I have a vision of a Christmas in Jamaica where each person exemplifies Jesus’ ethic of love for neighbor and peace and goodwill toward everyone. A Jamaica which prizes cooperation and collaboration over confrontation and conflict; a Jamaica where concern for the poor and vulnerable is inculcated in each child and becomes infused in our culture.
I have a vision of a Christmas in Jamaica which will see all of us truly embracing the concept that we are one people, not a nation of political tribes. A Christmas which not only catches us in a good mood, as one song celebrates, but which finds all our men loving, cherishing and protecting their spouse and children, not destroying them.
I have a vision of a Christmas with peaceful Jamaican communities, where people look out for one another’s interests and are actively engaged in spreading the Christmas spirit of peace.
I have a vision of a Christmas in Jamaica where our economic prosperity will be equitably shared, providing a solid foundation for our children and inspiring hope in our youth that they can achieve all their dreams right here on this rock of ours.
The message of Christmas is a message of hope. For an oppressed, marginalized people in First Century Palestine, the message that their Messiah was born was a liberating one. Light had broken through the darkness. Day had replaced the long night of suffering. Fear was eclipsed by faith in a brighter future. Luke records in chapter one and verse 30 of his Gospel: “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God”.
Faith drives out fear. The message of Christmas is that God wants the best for us and He doesn’t want us to be afraid of anything. God wants to prosper us and give us a good future. But we have to believe this is possible.
The story of a baby born in a lowly manger but who was destined to be a King emboldens us to believe the best for ourselves and our own future. Let us seize this positive message of Christmas. On this Christmas day we remind ourselves of the words of the angel to Mary in Luke Chapter 1 verse 37: “For nothing will be impossible with God”.
With faith, hope and love we can exemplify the true reason for the season. At this time, let us especially remember those in the hospital and those sick at home. Let us remember those who have lost loved ones during the year as well as those who are lonely and depressed. Let us reach out and touch somebody. Make someone’s Christmas memorable this year.
You don’t have to have money to show love. Your words of encouragement and upliftment; your smile, your generosity of spirit can warm hearts. Go over to a shut-in and give a helping hand. Reach out to a child. Call up some family member you might not have been in touch with for some time. Mend fences. Call someone from whom you might have been estranged. Pass on the love that Jesus has passed on to you. Spread the joy of Christmas.
It is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year. Let others experience that in your presence this Christmas season. Today, I salute all those who sacrifice being with their own families to care for and protect others, especially those in the essential services.
We hail our senior citizens, who have given so much to us. We honor you this Christmas. We thank you for your devoted service and for all you have invested in our lives. This is also the season for thanksgiving. We thank God for the gift of his Son Jesus Christ and our own gift-giving is a small reflection of this Supreme Gift.
From Juliet, Adam, Matthew and me – from my family to yours—we wish you a merry and meaningful Christmas.