by the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur Prime Minister
Barbadians must never be ambivalent about the celebration of their religious faith.
As such, it is a fit and proper thing that as a predominantly Christian society we should once again join with the rest of the world to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Our Christian heritage teaches us that Christmas is about the celebration of grace. It is the grace, fully embodied in Mary’s Bethlehem boy child, who was conceived as the miraculous vessel through whom the Almighty proffered the bounty of his love, the abundance of his peace and the promise to mankind of an abounding hope and an abundant life.
The special meaning of Christmas is also captured in the spirit and the sentiment of goodwill which pervades it as a festive season.
Jesus was born to lowly parents; his cradle fashioned in a mean cattle stall, among peasant shepherds, in an obscure Jewish town; at a difficult time n his Nation’s history.
But these very circumstances underscored the purpose of his life; to bring succor and good news to the poor; to heal the hurting, to offer release to the oppressed, and to lift up the fallen.
Our Barbados is a great society because we live the Christmas spirit. For, Barbadians are a people given to goodwill – goodwill to our fellow citizens; goodwill to our regional neighbours; goodwill to our guests from around the world.
I rust that the special spirit of Christmas will always be with us, and that long after this festive season has passed, we will reach out, each of us according to his or her circumstances, to fill the lives of those in need with sustenance, hope and good cheer.
As we celebrate Christmas we should also pause to give thanks for the abundant blessings that have been bestowed upon us as a people.
For it must count for much that Barbados has risen to the very top among all developing countries on account of the caliber of our national programme to eradicate poverty.
It is also a great blessing that we have given a human face to our material progress in the form of the substantial reduction of unemployment in our nation.
Our special Christmas gift to our nation must therefore be to continue to make it a land of rich and expanding opportunity for all.
And we must never falter, as we so easily could have done this year, when disaster or tragedy strikes. At such times we must continue to care for each other, to draw strength from each other and remain a people of faith.
This is the true spirit in which Barbados must celebrate Christmas of 2007.
We are poised for new and bright beginnings. The notion of Emmanuel speaks of God being with us. We must take advantage of his blessing to take our nation to new and higher heights of accomplishment.
This is the time when we bid farewell to one year, and, with much expectation, welcome another.
It is therefore with that joy of Christmas that I greet you this Christmas morning.
On behalf of the Government of Barbados, and my family, I extend to you the warmest regards for a most blessed Christmas, and all happiness and prosperity in the New Year.
And I trust that the true spirit of Christmas will continue to live in our hearts, in our homes and in our lives forever.
Merry Christmas, Barbados.