We know that it means that the Universe is preparing to bring to us – once again – the blessings of another Christmas.
Today, that blessed time has come. And even the cane stalks, so long a part of our once-painful history, once again bloom – as they always do at this time of year – as though they, too, wish to pay homage to the birth of Christ.
In addition, in recent weeks, we have been blessed by the voices – young and clear, old and warm – that have been blending and rising in the singing of those carols that are so near and dear to us…….and wafting, as though on a breeze, into our hearts. Rekindling, in the process, poignant, precious memories of Christmases past…..of loved ones far away…….and of those now gone forever.
For this is the power of Christmas.
We enter the Christmas Season with a great deal for which to be grateful.
We were, this year, spared the wrath of natural disasters – something that the people of the Philippines, Australia, the United States and so many other countries are, unfortunately, unable to say today.
The tumult, chaos, and blood-shed that have so traumatized the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Ukraine and elsewhere have, thankfully, stayed far from our shores.
The socio-economic collapse and anguish that have pummeled nations large and small, from our very own region to the most distant of lands, have mercifully spared us.
We do, as I have said, have a great deal for which to be thankful.
And it is with these feelings of gratitude, that I wish for us all, on this Christmas morn, the blessings of a peaceful holiday season.
And I wish this for us because peace is the most precious gift of all. That is why the Christ Child, whose birth so awed the shepherds, and had for so long been sought by the Wise Men; whose coming was heralded by the stars and is now celebrated the world over, became known, the world over, as the Prince of Peace.
So, again, then, I wish us peace.
And I give thanks that, throughout the millennia, this sacred day has always brought to the fore the best that is within us: a genuine desire to show love and kindness; a longing to reach out to persons we may not have seen, or even spoken to, all year – both at home or abroad. For this is the beauty of Christmas.
The Christ Child, as we know, grew into a most wise and noble teacher, impressing upon us the power of compassion, the magic of faith, and the importance of love.
And this, we have come to realize, is the path to peace.
During this Christmas season, and for as long as we may live, may these lessons be evident in how we live our lives.
And may they forever shape and strengthen the society within which we live.
Born in Bethlehem with neither powerful friends nor glorious robes, and reared in Nazareth, a town from which it was said no good could come, the teachings of Christ now lift and strengthen hundreds of millions of hearts and souls across the length and breadth of the world.
Indeed, the teachings of Christ have served us, here at home, very well this year – a year which was, in so many ways, very different from any other. But did Proverbs not remind us to trust in the LORD with all our heart; and to lean not unto our own understanding?
And just as individuals, families, and entire communities across the millennia have gained strength and wisdom from God’s word, so too have we here in St. Kitts-Nevis, having been promised that if we wait for the Lord, He shall renew our strength. That we shall mount up with wings like eagles. Run and not be weary. Walk, and not faint. This Christmas and always, therefore, let us, as a people and a nation, wait on the Lord.
As a Government, Fellow Nationals and Residents, we not only celebrate the birth of Christ, but we give thanks for, and are guided by his teachings as well: In the parable of the talents, for example, He urges us to use and develop those gifts with which we have been blessed, and this we do. And in Matthew he warns of mankind’s responsibilities to the hungry, the naked, and the lonely – not only at Christmas time, but the whole year through. And this, too, is at the core of all that we do on behalf of the Nation.
We have, as you know, been turning, ever more resolutely, to the potential of our earth, our seas, and our skies to meet our country’s needs. And in doing so, we pay homage to what Genesis calls “the lights in the heavens that separate day from night”. And we note Luke’s reminder that “He commands the winds”.
In nature, indeed, we see the gifts and the power of God.
In this season set aside to honor the birth of Christ, Fellow Nationals and Residents, may we see the gifts and power of God in each other as well. May we remember, in the midst of our blessings, to pass on to others some of any joy that may now be our own.
And in the event that our hearts are in any way burdened in this most sacred of seasons, may we gain strength and comfort from the facts of the Christ Child’s sacred, but lonely, birth: a loneliness which, though real, was also fleeting; and a loneliness which, in time, was transformed by the message of peace, hope, and love.
Throughout this Christmas season, therefore, my prayer is that our hearts will be filled with the blessedness of peace………the elixir of hope……..and the transformative gift of love.
And in the days following Christmas, a time often devoted to celebration, may each of us remember our special responsibilities to ourselves and to others.
May God bless us all this Christmas, in the New Year, and beyond.