Christmas Message 2022 by Dr the Honourable Godwin Friday, Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party
Fellow Vincentians and friends,
At this time of year, we are all filled with the Christmas spirit. It is a special feeling for a special time we spend with family and reach out to friends and neighbours.
At Christmas time, no one is a stranger. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and all share in the promise of forgiveness and redemption. For everyone, there is hope. To make the most of it, we should embrace the spirit by sharing and giving as much as we can to as many as we can. That is truly the spirit of Christmas.
The celebration of the coming of Christ into the world should uplift us all and fill us with hope for the future. Please, let us take time to reflect on the direction of our lives and the state of our relationships with those close to us, especially family. It is also a good time to reflect collectively about the condition of our nation and what must be done in the new year to make things better.
Over the course of the year, we have been slowly emerging from the grips of the COVID pandemic. Too many loved ones and friends were lost to the disease. While we honour them, we also thank God that more people were not lost and for the opportunity to meet and greet one another in love and friendship once again. How precious those every day human interactions are and how much we missed them during the worst days of the pandemic! We can again hug family members and friends, see many persons whom we had not seen for a while, and attend in person many of the happy milestones of life—births and birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other events.
Cultural life has returned to our public spaces and meeting places fill up quickly as we seek to reclaim what we lost. We again celebrate wonderful festivals including Vincy Mas and Easter Regatta, Gospelfest, Nine Mornings and other national events. And we all look forward to even more in the coming year.
We also continue to emerge from the grey cloud of La Soufriere’s eruption. The promised recovery has been slow and uneven but, inevitably, moves ahead. As we have moved forward, there have been additional challenges and delays. The authorities must redouble their efforts and accelerate the pace of rebuilding, giving priority to those most in need.
In the coming year, the economic effects of the Russian war in Ukraine will continue to hurt us. This calamity adds to the problem of the pre-existing weak economy that has afflicted us for many years. We have felt the impact in ever-increasing prices for virtually everything. Many of our people are unable to meet their basic needs.
So, for many of us, the Christmas Season will not be the usual time of joy and hope, but one of worry and distress caused by our inability to provide for our families. But we all have the power to make a positive difference if we choose to do so.
Love and kindness are limitless and are always available for us to share with others. And the more we share, the more there is to go around. Let us reach out to one another and embrace the Christmas spirit of hope and let us continue in the true Vincy spirit of togetherness, of caring and of love.
As good deeds, we can share food and drink with one another during the season. Help those most in need as best you can. Remember, no act of generosity and kindness is ever too little or too late, for while it may not change the world, it will change a life. If even for just a moment, it will make a difference, for the better.
As we look to the New Year, we must continue to believe that better days are ahead of us and the promise of our nation is still to be realized. Much is still left to be done. But while we proceed with hope, we should also acknowledge that, by itself, hope changes nothing in the world. The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead. So, too, hope without plans and deeds accomplishes nothing. To make a difference, our good deeds are required. Therefore, it falls to all of us to be the instruments of good deeds and bring us closer day by day to the nation we can be.
I am confident and hopeful for our future, which by the Grace of God will be bright. As is written in the Book of Romans: “May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Make this a time of hope, peace and joy for your own family and our human family.
I wish a blessed Christmas and a great new year to everyone.
May God continue to bless us all.