|Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart. (FP)|
I am pleased to greet you once again at Christmas time and to extend the compliments of the season to you.
The story of the babe of Bethlehem has lost none of its freshness, more than two thousand years after three wise men carried their gifts to that babe lying in a manger.
The reason is simple.?? The babe of Bethlehem is still alive and the light which he brought to the world continues to shine with a unique radiance and to cast its beams into every dark corner of the globe.?? Millions of babies born before and millions born since the birth of Christ on that first Christmas day are with us no longer.?? What makes Christmas unique and a source of continuing freshness is that Christ, the babe of Bethlehem, still lives.
In that sense, the Christmas story cannot be separated from the Easter story.?? For there were those evil men who thought that they could put out, for all time, the light which God had sent to a dark world on that first Christmas day.?? For a while, they seemed to have succeeded but, in just three days, that light was rekindled and has brightened the path of mankind ever since then.?? Proof, were any needed, that wrong doing has a definite shelf life and will, ultimately, be overcome by truth and right.??
Christmas teaches us another immortal lesson.?? The virgin who was with child visited an inn and was told by the innkeeper that he had no room.?? That innkeeper did not know to whom he was talking and he did not understand the significance of the baby that this strange woman was carrying.?? She was pregnant with the Prince of Peace.
An attitude by no means dissimilar links many of us with that innkeeper.?? Even though we have no idea what kind of future awaits our children, still too many of our parents approach the rearing of our children all too casually.?? Too many fathers are refusing to make that extra effort to ensure that their children are properly maintained.
We have no way of knowing on whom we are turning our backs when we abandon a pregnant mother, or a mother with a babe in arms or one literally struggling to send a child to school.?? That child could easily be some great man or woman on whom the future is patiently waiting.?? Such were our heroes, our leaders, our great sportsmen, our great musicians and entertainers, our great teachers and public servants, and great nurses and policemen, and so many others!
So in the midst of all the jollification and the acts of giving which are characteristic features of this yuletide season, let ??us ??pause ??to ??reflect ??not ??only ??on ??the ??miracle ??that
heralded the first Christmas, but also on the obligations throughout the year to which the babe of Bethlehem summons everyone of us.
To be kind to one another; to share more with one another; to set proper examples for our children; to give an honest day’s work at our places of employment; to care for those obviously less fortunate than ourselves; to do unto others as we would have them do to us; to settle our disputes without resort to violence domestic or otherwise; and to merit rather than demand the respect of those around us.
These are some, only, of the obligations throughout the year to which the Christ child challenges us to rise.
The government over which I preside will continue to create the environment in which every citizen will want to respond to these challenges.
As a people we are equal to it.?? As a people we can do it.
It only remains for me, on behalf of my family and myself, to extend to all Barbadians best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous, Healthy and Happy New Year.