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The language of peace

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On this very happy festive day of the Christ child, I take this opportunity once again to wish everyone the blessings and the joy of Christmastime.

Since the celebration of Christmas, it has come to mean for us all the festival of family and home. But it is not solely those nearest and dearest to us that we think of on Christmas Day; for this, too, is preeminently the time when we all think of the bigger home (our country) and the wider family (our people). Beyond these is the infinitely larger one; that is, the family of man: the young and old, the friends and loved ones, the brothers and strangers, the peoples and nations.

Everyone speaks today the imperishable message of peace and goodwill uniquely associated with Christmas. And that message cannot be stilled, whether the times be fortunate or not, or our lives be visited by travails or blessings. For all of us, Christmas wakens the greatest qualities of:

  • human character,
  • courage,
  •  charity,
  •  perseverance,
  •  love,
  • selflessness —qualities that since time immemorial have made for fulfillment in our individual lives and in our fellowship with others.

With this feeling of self-possession and hope that Christmas confers on each of us, comes also the profound awareness that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. This Christian idea ought especially to be glued in times when the cords of brotherhood seem to be most needed – at home, when we are in the midst of new undertakings and struggles that demand the fullest measure of national solidarity; and in the world, when we perceive the fraternal bonds of nations being ruptured by differences and misunderstanding.

On this day, therefore, which reminds us what home and family mean, let it be our common prayer and resolve that the wonder and power of Christmas will again strengthen the loyalties, affections and the bonds we feel for one and all.

“What are we giving Jesus this year for His birthday?” Or, put another way, wouldn’t it be a meaningful part of our Christmas if we came to Christmas day and had a very special gift for Him? Are we willing to wrap one more present this Christmas, put Jesus’s name on it, place it under the tree and give it to Him with all our love on Christmas day?

I would encourage us to create a new family tradition this Christmas and let everyone do exactly that. Challenge our family members to choose one very special gift that they want to give to Jesus this Christmas. Have them wrap it, put His name on it and put it under the tree. Then, on Christmas Day, one by one, open our gifts and share with friends and family what we chose to give to Jesus on His birthday. We may want to collect them, bring them to mind next year, and recall back how we did giving the gift back to Jesus throughout the year.

So, what might we give Him? He is the quintessential guy who ‘has everything’. Well, I would suggest you start by asking Him the same question you ask all your family and friends: “What would you like from me this Christmas?”

The gift he asks is quite simple to package and present to him – the heart. There is absolutely nothing to lose, but much to be gained!

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Bountiful New Year. 

+Frank Archbishop and Primate Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese St Vincent and the Grenadines

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