Seasons greetings to you citizens of this beloved country of, Grenada Carriacou and Petit Martinique in the hallowed name of our loving, and living Lord, Jesus Christ.
It is with a profound sense of humility that I address you on this most trilling occasion, “The Celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Christmas is a time of celebration when everything seems softer and more beautiful. Traditionally the magical feeling around Christmas will move many to be captured in the excitement of enhancing their homes and ensuring that there is more than enough food and drinks for family and friends.
This year however, for many, Christmas is the most humble occasion. Many of the things which we once took for granted seems to have become less certain and unattainable. This has somehow dampened the spirit of the season for some and has even brought on undue stress, depression and the feeling of insecurity and decadence. Our People have been affected by events which have embedded itself across this land, ranging from broken families to the economic crisis.
Such Occurrences in some way have afforded the opportunity to learn lessons from the past or to see things from a new perspective. In the past Christmas was celebrated with much sharing which could be likened to a magic blanket that wrapped itself around us. That something, so intangible that it is like a fragrance and even weaved a spell of nostalgia. While for some, a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it was a day of remembrance and togetherness. When families came together and shared the little they had and the many kitchens and dinner tables of homes across our country on the 25th day of December, belonged to the entire community.
This have quickly changed in many communities and Christmas day have become a day when many are stuck in their homes with nowhere to go and no one to share the joy of the season with. The fence of selfishness seemed to have somehow grown taller and the tradition of sharing and merriment has disappeared. The sound of chorals and spiritual Christmas choruses seems to have been replaced by paranging and parties. Some have become so caught up with the Christmas Spirit of cleaning, painting and changing curtains that we sometimes do not even remember our less fortunate neighbor next door or the elderly widow or widower who have no one to celebrate with.
Over the years the pews of churches have become even emptier in this season as church members utilize the time of service or mass for preparation of homes.
In years past, we will listen to programmes and sermons admonishing to remember the less fortunate in other parts of the world. At our dinner tables prayer was said for people in many parts of Africa and other distant lands. With the deepening economic crisis these people are now our neighbors our friends and even ourselves. Hence, I encourage you to remember, share with and pray for your neighbors and the less fortunate in your own community. Take time out to do something that you may not have done in past years. Look around you and help make someone’s Christmas the best. In your quest for happiness remember that genuine happiness and satisfaction lies more in giving than receiving, in serving than being served. It is evident that the people who are most happy are the people who have lived for a greater cause; the cause of others, the cause of Christ. These have been outgoing and unselfish, those who use their time, talents, abilities and resources in the spirit of self-abnegation in service to community, country and the highest service of all “ service to God”.
Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for over two thousand years. Remember that Christmas is not about earning presents but it’s about receiving the free gift of salvation which God have afforded us by sending the ultimate gift, his son, whose birth we celebrate. Let us not merely remember Jesus as a baby in Bethlehem but rather the reason he was made flesh, that is, to die for our sins so that we can be saved though grace in Christ Jesus.
As we celebrate, there are many families who may have an empty chair at the dinner table or one less laughter to share, who may be reminded this day of the many invaluable memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. This must be our constant reminder that life itself is a precious gift for which we should be thankful, for we are here but for a while as pilgrims after which comes the judgment. Let us celebrate this Christmas the best way we know. From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another let the warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other. Remembering that the best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. Use this occasion to share a hug, smile or cheerful greet. For next Christmas what may be left of some may just be memories. Let’s use this day to call friends and families and express our appreciation and love. Extent To your enemy, forgiveness, to an opponent, tolerance, To a friend, your heart, To a customer, service, To all, charity, To every child, a good example, To yourself, respect and to God your life.
Do not succumb to the stresses of the times. Remember that in times of difficulty and turbulence, that the courageous do not just lie down, surrender and accept defeat but are more encouraged and determined to fight their way back, to struggle for the better. Let us be eternally mindful, that, whilst we may have found disappointment in our family, friends, political representatives even religious leaders that God is our ultimate hope, the unchanging hope. While man may disappoint, God never disappoints. While we often fail God, that he never fail us. That he is unchanging and that there is nothing that you are unable to accomplish with God.
Let us use this Christmas to heal the political, religious and denominational divides in our land. I urge that we use this season to reflect, not to cast blames and aspersions but to do self-introspection. Let us use the spiritual mirror, “the bible”, to make ourselves beautiful, fit and ready for God’s use and purpose. Reflect on the foundation on which our country is build upon as speculated in the preamble of our constitution “the supremacy of God”.
In the New Year we will be faced with challenges and decisions. Grenada has found itself at a crossroad as it relates to our moral and values. We have been faced this year with the issue of organized prostitution through escort services. As a country we were able to put aside our differences and political ideologies to fight against this social ill. In 2010 we will be faced with issues ranging from Casino Gambling, increasing divorce rates, in addition to the burden that will be brought on by the Value Added Tax (VAT). Every institution in our society will have a critical role to play in all of these as we seek to ensure Grenada remain a strong and stable Christian nation. Let us remember to pray for the strengthening of the Church, Government and opposition, NGOs, CBOs and all concerned.
As we prepare for the coming year Lets ensure that Christmas do not become a “thing”, Merely a commercial activity, Of food, drinks, bulbs, holly wreath, And surface pleasure, but beneath The childish glamour, let us find Nourishment for soul and mind. Let us follow kinder ways, And help the age of peace to come as we await the return of Jesus Christ our King.
Let us be true to the words of our National Anthem Ever Conscious of God, we aspire build and advance as one people, one family.
May God bless our nation.
And may Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
I thank you.