“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
These words capture so movingly, if inadequately, the feelings of all of us about Christmas. There is no other season like this; none that evokes the kinds of positive emotions, the sense of joy, peace, goodwill and unity; the deep sense of our common humanity.
The fact that Christmas is celebrated not just in Christian cultures but is a truly global and universal celebration, one involving people of various faiths and no faith, says something of its awesome pull. There is something in us as human beings which treasure the spirit of Christmas. Christmas speaks to our longing for oneness— for an inclusiveness which scales the barriers of race, class, gender, nationality, religion and political divide.
Especially for us as Jamaicans at this time when we face a general election in a few days, the message of Christmas is even more relevant and timely. How can we at this time forget that we are truly brothers and sisters; one people, wrapped in the colour of God’s love, rather than a superficial party colour? How can we forget that we are all God’s children, preordained to walk in love just as Jesus did when he walked on earth? How can we not be impelled by this Christmas message to incarnate the values of good-neighbourliness, peace, friendship and justice?
What an opportunity we have to demonstrate, in practical terms, the true meaning of Christmas! Jesus was born in a world of tension and antagonism.
The message of Jesus’ birth broke through the clouds of oppression, gloom and discouragement and shone the great light of hope. That Light still shines forth today. Fellow Jamaicans, we can all embrace that Light for, indeed, as the Word says, Christ is the light of the world. We need that light to shine even brighter in Jamaica today.
We need that light to reach into every corridor of Jamaica, into every heart. My hope is that this Christmas will see us reflecting on the saying, “Whatsoever things are honest; whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report”, let us think on all that is good in our fellow Jamaicans.
Let us forget about the things which divide us. The things which unite us are far greater than the things which divide. Let us think on those things.
Let us think about our rich cultural heritage, especially on the eve of our 50th anniversary as a people.
Our fore-parents have bequeathed many fine things to us. Let us be the best custodians and stewards of this rich legacy.
My heart goes out at this Christmas time to all those who are sick, especially to those in hospitals. I pray for all those who are lonely at this time; those who have too little and those who are on the margins of our society.
I urge all of those who are healthy and who can share something to do so. If you don’t have money, share a smile, share a good word, share a kind thought.
This is what this season is about. It’s not about material things. It is about giving love.
That moving Stevie Wonder Christmas song, “Someday at Christmas” comes to mind. You know it:
“Someday at Christmas, we’ll see a land
With no hungry children, no empty hands.
One happy morning, people will share
Our world where people care.
Someday at Christmas, man will not fail
Hate will be gone and love will prevail.
Someday a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart.”
Fellow Jamaicans, at home and abroad, we can start building that world today.
Have a very merry Christmas!