Christmas Message 2019 by Her Excellency Dame Sandra Mason, GCMG, DA, QC – Governor General of Barbados.
It is again that special time of the year when it is a joy for me to greet all Barbadians, residents and visitors to our shores.
At this Christmas time when Christians are urged to focus on the reason for the season, I want to implore all of us to practise the positive principles from the Christmas story in our daily lives because the birth of Jesus was a symbol of hope, his life a reflection of God.
We are familiar with the story of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem to be taxed when Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus in a manger because there was no room in the inn.
The Shepherd and the Wise Men were the groups of people who visited the Baby Jesus and received the news with gladness and rejoicing. It was no ordinary event. For them, it must have been an emotional and transformational moment.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, it must continue to be of significance to us. His birth and subsequent life on earth have given us a tremendous and powerful example to follow. The values of love, peace, joy, goodwill, forgiveness, caring and sharing are not only portrayed in the Christmas story but are exemplified throughout Jesus’ life.
These values come to the fore at Christmas time but seem to ebb away, day by day during the following year.
The question is always asked why does this happen. It is no longer the time to ask the question but to take action in our daily living to make a difference in our society.
We all lament about the erosion of values, morals and traditions of yesteryear which were instilled in our people and from which we have reaped positive results.
We are being encouraged at this time to rekindle these values in our lives, pass them on to our young people and take some positive action as we become involved in ‘Vision 2020’. This project gives us wide scope to foster a stronger community spirit while reconnecting with family.
I hope that the rolling out of the Vision 2020 makes that vital connection with our young people, to expose them to what is the essence of being a Barbadian and make them aware of the responsibility of what that entails. One way of achieving this is the sharing of the life stories of our senior citizens.
During the past year, we have had several opportunities for celebration. As common place as it may seem to many of us, the announcement of another Centenarian is a notable achievement. I have had the pleasure and honour of visiting eighteen this year.
It was also an honour for me to administer the Oath of Office to Professor Justice Andrew Burgess, the first Barbadian Justice to sit on the Caribbean Court of Justice.
I have also had the privilege to present the Mountbatten medal to a Barbadian lifeguard, Terence Hinds, who singlehandedly carried out three strenuous rescues in under half an hour on 9th March, 2017. It is noteworthy that his recommendation for these acts of bravery was made by a Canadian visitor.
The formal recognition of several Barbadians from all walks of life for National and Imperial Honours is another reason for celebration. The attainment of excellence in their differing fields of endeavour are examples of which our young people should be made aware.
It is important for us to know that many of our citizens are quietly making significant contributions to nation building in several spheres.
Like most Barbadians, I am very concerned about the level of violence being exhibited by some persons in the society. This is not the way to solve problems. We must support the measures being taken by several agencies to deal with this problem.
It is a Barbadian tradition to be caught up in the hustle and bustle in preparation for the ‘Day’, and the merriment and partying for the season. I, however, wish you to spare some thought and a prayer for all those less fortunate, and for our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas who are still struggling and dislocated following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.
I also wish to remember those persons who are bereaved at this time and I pray that God will strengthen them.
As we reflect on the birth of the baby Jesus at Christmas, I wish all Barbadians at home and abroad, residents and visitors, a Joyous and Peaceful Christmas and a Healthy and Productive 2020.
Happy Christmas to all.
Governor General Dame Sandra Mason