Dear Barbadians and visitors to our nation, I greet you with the love, joy, peace and hope of Christmas as we celebrate this festival that commemorates the nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
As with other faiths, the Christian Church has appointed festivals to recall and praise God for His great acts of salvation in history and to provide occasions for the rededicating of our lives to Him. Christmas is one of those important festivals. Therefore, despite the instability of our world today, we persist with its observance, recognising that Jesus’ birth interestingly occurred at a time when the world faced circumstances similar to ours.
Our Lord entered a world that was politically influenced and oppressed by the Roman Empire. It was a world in which polytheism and idolatry pervaded; immorality blossomed; a prosperity theology of the rich as “the blessed” and the poor as “the cursed” was propagated, and this fostered inequalities and discrimination; and the gravely ill – whether physically, mentally or spiritually – were isolated.
Into that messy context our Lord came with the divine mission of reclaiming the world for God through the healing, consecration and transformation of lives as He inspired His followers to accept God’s truth and grace; to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and to love and care for each other deeply, recognising that all lives matter.
Hence, Christmas is a celebration of the good news that God so loves us that He sent His Son, our Lord, not to condemn us for our imperfections, but rather to call, inspire and restore us to abundant living, that of life in God’s Kingdom where there is faith, hope, righteousness, joy, peace and love.
We celebrate Christmas because we are assured that God still comes to us, abides with us, as our Emmanuel, to freely and lovingly offer the support and guidance, the strength and resilience required for the transformation of our lives as we traverse these uncharted waters along our journey as a new republic.
I, therefore, urge us this Christmas not to lose hope while our nation continues its battle with the current pandemic, the climatic changes and the economic pressures because we are reminded in this season that God is with us and He always intervenes to make a way. He will continue to work for our deliverance and the restoration of peace among us as He inspires us to live in true love for Him and with each other.
May this Christmas once again be a time to open our hearts to make room and welcome Him into our lives, and be inspired by His life and ministry to daily “reach out and touch somebody’s hand, [to] make this world a better place [as much as] we can”.
I wish you, on behalf of the Anglican Church of Barbados, a safe, blessed and peaceful Christmas season, and God’s continued guidance for the year 2022. Shalom!