My fellow Vincentians, Friends,
No matter our circumstances, for most of us the coming of Christmas transports us from our everyday lives and lifts our spirits. It fills us with hope that things will get better. And many of us humble ourselves before God on our knees in appreciation of the precious gift of Christ coming into the world in love and peace to show us how to live with one another and with God.
Too often, in the hustle and bustle of daily life, we forget the power of that example and its eternal, inexhaustible message of hope. But the celebration of Christmas reminds us of it. Even as we busy ourselves with other things and in other ways during the season, the church services, the carols, the parang soca, the decorations, and symbols that have become essential aspects of the season turn our minds inevitably to reflect on the true message of Christmas. The hope is also that those reflections and the feeling of joy will stay with us well into the new year, and even forever.
Also, this time of year we reconnect with loved ones and friends. We may not have seen them for a longtime, for our reality is that many of our loved ones live and work abroad– in Canada, USA ,the UK and elsewhere– and make the trip home around this time because it is so special to us. Many of my relatives and friends have made the journey home this year. I look forward to spending time with them.
Over the Christmas season, there are many opportunities to meet people, share food and drink and spend time not only with family, but with others in our communities. People we may at other times pass on the way with a quick hello or flashing smile, we now hug or hold hands, wish each other well and share in other ways. It is a time when the love and friendship that unite our communities flourish, reminding us that we are one people and all God’s children!
Christmas is a time of giving. So, give generously. Look for nothing in return. And when you receive, always be thankful for it is a blessing.
Christmas is a time to reflect on the past year, asking ourselves what more we could have done and still can do to support each other and build better communities and a country that works for all of us. There are still too many people struggling to put food on the table and pay their bills. Too many people this year have worried about the rising cost of living. Too many people this year have been forced to move abroad for lack of opportunity at home. Too many people are still poor and getting poorer. And too many people are without jobs or work for low wages that cannot maintain their families and enable them to plan for the future.
I am more determined than ever to change our country for the better. I have met so many people over the past year who yearn for a better life in SVG and have stated their desire for change and their willingness to work together to bring it about.
I am committed to building a strong economy that will increase jobs and pay better salaries. I am committed to improving healthcare, immediately. Also, with a record number of fifty-two killings this year, we must urgently tackle crime and make our communities safe again. I am committed to our young people for they need jobs, training opportunities and hope.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope” (Lamentations 3:21).
I am guided accordingly.
My people, let us pray for peace everywhere, and notably in the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, and for the avoidance of armed conflict between Venezuela and Guyana.
I wish you and your family joy now and hope for the future. Enjoy Christmas!
I am looking forward to attending church with my community in Bequia, spending time with my family and attending gatherings with friends across our blessed land. I hope that in your own way, you can do the same.
God bless you. Peace and love to all.