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Peace, goodwill at Christmas and beyond

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CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2004 FROM THE ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES CHRISTIAN COUNCIL

The joy of Christmas comes to life in the words of the Gloria when the angel and the great company of heavenly hosts chanted, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward to all.” In this simple but profound statement, we are reminded that God gave humanity the perfect gift of love in the presence of Jesus Christ. It is for this reason that our lives must be a continuous testimony and hymn of praise to God whose glory is not only “up there” in the heavenly places, but a reality on earth and in all of creation. {{more}}

Whenever we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we celebrate not only the life of the one who announces peace, but the one who embodied a life of peace – the hope, trust and quietness of mind, body and soul, brought about through reconciliation with God.

Therefore, in a world ravaged by war, hatred, violence, economic deprivation, racism and life threatening diseases, God offers us completeness -an opportunity to experience life in its fullness. “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (St. John 10:10).

As a Council, we are appalled at how life and living are reduced to the pursuit of power and success; and the acquisition of material possessions at any cost, without having regard for the human condition of others. While these things add to the fulfilment and enjoyment of life, they must never become instruments of enslavement. The Christian Council therefore calls on the nation and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to serve God, not mammon.

The Council reiterates that the fullness of life does not consist of “abundant things” but rather, the quality of life lived in communion with God and our fellow human beings. It is a gift from God that we must celebrate and cherish.

Because God became vulnerable by loving us in spite of our weaknesses, we ought to love our neighbours as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:39). And what better time to demonstrate this than at Christmas, the season of great joy.

The Council was and still is overwhelmed by the enormous generosity poured out to the people of Grenada by Vincentians. This reminds us of our inherent capacity to be compassionate and thus share and care for each other in times of plenty and little, and in times of difficulty and calm.

Can this outpouring of love for the other become a permanent principle for our daily experiences with one another in the family, school, Church and the community at large? As a Council, we believe it can, but we have to implant it in the minds and hearts of our children and young people and most importantly, practise it in our daily experiences with one another.

This Christmas is an opportunity for the Christian Church to assess whether or not it has been faithful to its mission to be an agent of peace in our beloved nation. It is an opportunity for all of us to truly embrace the principle of love, so that indeed, “righteousness and peace will kiss each other” (Ps. 85:10) in all our affairs of nation building.

The Council takes this opportunity to express to the nation and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines a peaceful and joyful Christmas and a productive New Year.

May God’s blessings be upon us all.

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