Peace and Love to all this Christmas
FROM: Her Excellency Dame Susan D
Dougan, GCMG, OBE
Governor General of
St Vincent and the
“God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith; the warmth of Christmas, which is love; the radiance of Christmas, which is purity; the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice; the belief in Christmas, which is truth; the all of Christmas, which is Christ.” The aforementioned is an excerpt from the works of Wilda English.
Fellow Vincentians, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and God’s immeasurable gift to the world. Christmas is, therefore, a time of spiritual reflection on the important foundation of the Christian faith.
Today while we welcome and acknowledge, with immense gratitude, the demonstration of God’s love and the birth of our Saviour, the message of faith, peace, love, hope and unity should resonate with us as Christians.
The last twelve months are a stark reminder of how vulnerable we are as human beings and point to the necessity of developing coping skills as a nation, which can be enhanced if we place our faith in the message of Jesus Christ.
The pandemic continues to bring much sadness with widespread pain and suffering, the tremendous strain on the health sector, the loss of loved ones and the many sacrifices we all have to endure.
The entire nation has been faced with many hardships, frustration and in some cases, a rift in relationships where there are differences of opinion on how hurdles presented by the pandemic can be overcome. The volcanic eruptions have certainly compounded many of these problems but have at the same time highlighted extraordinary acts of kindness extended by fellow Vincentians at home and in the Diaspora. Through it all, we recognise that God’s grace has provided us with strength and fortitude to overcome the many obstacles and allowed the nation to persevere against the odds.
The efforts of the government must be applauded, particularly for taking a pragmatic approach in the face of what could easily have been a chaotic year. The Prime Minister showed remarkable leadership and courage in pursuing what he thought was best for the well-being of citizens. We must also show appreciation for the contribution made by the opposition in this national effort. We must recognise the invaluable service provided by community leaders, NGOs, development partners, CARICOM neighbours, the admirable efforts of the health sector and those public servants and scientists who have risen magnificently to the many challenges faced throughout the year.
The difficulties we face as a nation are not unique, since other nations throughout the world have faced similar difficulties which have caused untold and catastrophic destruction to humanity. What is important is how as a nation we unite to tackle the problems head-on.
For those who are grieving, I express my deepest sympathy and hope that the Spirit of God gives you peace and comfort during this difficult period. I also extend sincere condolences to the family of the late Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell, former Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and acknowledge his invaluable contribution to this nation.
Fellow Vincentians, as we reflect today, we are mindful that Jesus, our Lord, taught us to love one another. His Law is love and His Gospel is peace. When our hearts long for peace, kindness and goodwill among people, we look to Christ whose light shines in darkness.
During this Christmas season, let us be more tolerant and compassionate.
Let us care for family and spend quality time in service to the lonely, elderly and needy. Let us share our resources with the poor. This sharing is the true meaning of Christmas.
To the students who have experienced serious disruptions in their education this year, be optimistic; I am hopeful that the situation will improve. I also hope that as we usher in the New Year, we can all listen to and understand the voice of reason, truth, love and unity.
My family and I wish you a joyous and wonderful Christmas and a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.