Once again we join with Christians across the world to pause and reflect on the miracle that occurred in the manger at Bethlehem two thousand years ago, when a little known virgin gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus Christ. That miracle has changed the course of human history for all time.
The coming of Christ into the world, with the message of peace on earth and goodwill towards men, symbolized the bringing of hope to a world desperately in need of it. The birth of Christ had been prophesied long before it actually happened. Wise men, we are told, gladly followed a star which they had seen in the east and brought their gifts to Him who had been born King of the Jews.
King Herod was not amused by the news of the coming of Christ as King or by the fact that the world would now benefit from the hope of which His birth was so powerful a symbol. He sought, therefore, to end the life of the young child and, in his zeal to do so, ordered that all male children under the age of two years should be put to death.
So, Herod, in his time, tried to remove the child whose birth ushered in and embodied hope for the world. Herod died about two thousand years ago but his moral and spiritual descendants have steadfastly carried on his work down through the ages, and have tried to extinguish the flame of human hope wherever it has existed. Our time and our place are no exception.
My simple message to Barbadians this Christmas is that the passing of time has not lessened the importance of the event which took place in that manger at Bethlehem two thousand years ago. The hope which the birth of Christ brought to the world is still available to sustain us as we confront the many challenges of life from day to day.
King Herod did not succeed in destroying that hope although he caused much damage to innocent children in trying to do so.??Those in our day who are possessed of the spirit of Herod, and for whom the existence of hope is a challenge to the kind of order which they would prefer to create, must not be allowed to succeed either.
So, this Christmas, as you exchange your gifts, both material and spiritual, with friends and loved ones; as you spend quality time with your family and with those for whom you care; as you indulge in your chosen forms of recreation, reflect on the fact that central to that event in the manger at Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the King, was the kindling of that flame of hope, which lightened the darkness of generations of people down through the ages; and reflect on the duty you owe to yourselves and to generations to come, not to let that flame of hope ever flicker to extinction.
After all, it is hope and the inspiration it begets that has helped us over the years to meet and to surmount life???s many obstacles, and to create the Barbados we now have, and of which we are so proud; and it is hope that will endue us with the determination to meet current and future challenges!
Christmas teaches us that hope will win in the end!??I should like on behalf of the Cabinet of Barbados and on behalf of my own family to wish all of you at home and abroad a blessed Christmas and a healthy, happy and bountiful New Year. ??
The video of this Christmas message may be found be clicking here.