It’s time for all Barbadians to stand up and pull together as a family, as a difficult year ends and another one approaches.
That sentiment was echoed in this year’s Christmas messages by Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur.
“It is at times like these that we pull together as a family. As a community we may not face such extreme hardships as others affected by natural and man-made disasters but we should nurture our institutions and community organisations to assist those less fortunate whether at home or overseas in our small way,” Sir Elliott said.
“The solidarity we show at times of despair should be evident throughout the year and equally at Christmas when many are blessed with good health and largesse but others are alone, sick, or unable to enjoy the festivities as they would wish.
“We pray for all those in need of comfort and those who minister to them. We should strengthen the bonds of our community, appreciate and continue to nurture the positive aspects of national life and culture which make us a beacon for pluralism and democracy in the region.”
The Governor General pointed to the ability to listen to each other respectfully “even when we disagree”, to organise and hold free and fair elections “without violence in the knowledge that no right thinking person would wish to see this beautiful country destroyed by such selfish acts”.
He said these were “vitally important matters which should be kept constantly in view during the coming months as we prepare for the General Elections”.
“The generosity of spirit and wisdom to appreciate our differences as well as our shared humanity are features of Barbados that my wife and I have experienced and treasured as we have undertaken our new duties,” he stated.
“As we celebrate the birth of Christ let us re-dedicate ourselves to the virtues of family life, humility, faith and love. The message of peace and goodwill towards all men is a universal one which is shared by all peoples wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.”
In his message, the Prime Minister urged Barbadians to “reflect on the message and the promise of Christmas” and “focus on those ways in which we can promote peace on earth; on those ways in which we can promote goodwill toward men”.
“As I have said on earlier occasions, what I want most at Christmas is not available in any store and cannot be found on the shelf of any grocery or supermarket,” he said.
“What I want most for Christmas is that each of us grasp what is needed to bring a sense of fulfilment to the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves; is that each of us see our neighbour, not as a means towards those self-centred ends we may set for ourselves, but as an end in himself, so that we treat him as we treat ourselves; is that each of us treat the Christmas message as imposing duties on us that apply not only during the 12 days of Christmas, but apply also each and every day of every year.
“That is how we as Barbadians can give true meaning to the miracle wrought through a virgin in a humble inn at Bethlehem, in mankind’s first Christmas,” he added.
Arthur said having experienced “a year of unprecedented and extraordinary challenge for most of our citizens”, Barbadians should draw inspiration from the circumstances in which Jesus was born.
“For it teaches us that although our problems might seem large and even at times insurmountable, we can draw from the example of ordinary people, over the ages, who have had to tap into the resource of the human spirit to find solutions to their problems,” he said.
“The Christmas story also teaches us that the light of hope in the human spirit can never be dimmed, once we reach out to God in humility, and outward to each other in brotherhood and community.
“Barbados needs now, more than ever, to tap into this spirit of Christmas.
“This has been a year of unprecedented and extraordinary challenge for most of our citizens. For many, this Christmas will not be the brightest they have known. We however all hope for a better and brighter future in the days ahead.” (SC)