I am always pleased to greet you at Christmas time as we all reflect upon and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ about two thousand years ago.
Old and familiar though the Christmas story is, it loses none of its original freshness in the telling from year to year.
A virgin, Mary by name, gave birth to a son, Jesus, at Bethlehem of Judah, and laid him in a manger. Wise men, seeing his star in the East, followed it and eventually came to where he lay.
They worshipped Him, bringing him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The star which the wise men saw gave focus and direction to the journey they undertook in order to find and worship the Christ child.
The Christmas story mirrors faithfully what we as individuals in this nation do from day to day. We are all following a star of some kind and it is what that star represents that gives clarity and focus to our efforts.
It is important, therefore, that we reflect at this time on the star we have been following and where that star is leading us. The star the wise men followed led them to the Prince of Peace. Where is your star leading you?
The star you follow daily should lead you ultimately to a place that brings you a sense of personal fulfilment. Only then can you partake of that peace on earth which the birth of Christ was intended to herald.
I should like to suggest to you that following a star which sets you on a path of acquiring more, more, more, will not bring you that sense of personal fulfilment which we all seek.
There must be room in your vocabulary for the word ???enough.??? What we acquire certainly answers the question, how we live from day to day; it does not answer the question, why we live from day to day. Life should have a purpose that links us both to the birth and to the life???s mission of the babe of Bethlehem.
Following a star which frees you from responsibility as a parent, as a teacher or as a citizen will not bring you that sense of personal fulfilment which you seek.
As a parent you must accept full responsibility for your children to set the right example before them and to minister to their material, spiritual and emotional needs. That responsibility cannot and should not be off loaded on anyone else.
As a teacher, yours is not just a job from which you can derive a salary, a promotion or a holiday. To you is entrusted for daily nurturing one of the most precious gifts any society can give: the mind of a child! The education of our children must not prepare them just for the market place.
It must prepare them to cultivate respect for themselves and respect for others. It must enable them to fully realise their moral powers and their intellectual capacities. It must furnish them with a more secure hold on life with sources of lasting strength and inward happiness.
As a citizen, you are the daily face and image of your country. Barbados is judged by the things that you do, by the way that you behave, and by the discipline which you exemplify.
As we embark on our 50th Anniversary year, reflect on the kind of Barbadian you have been in your home, in your community and at your place of work whether in Barbados or abroad and ask yourself, what star am I following and where is that star leading me?
As we approach this Christmas season in the year 2015, I exhort you to be wise men, wise women and wise children. Follow that star that will lead you to a place where you want to be a better child, a better adult, a better senior citizen; follow that star that will show that in your role as parent, as teacher and as citizen you have encountered the Prince of Peace.
On behalf of the Cabinet of Barbados, on behalf of my own family and on my own behalf, I should like to extend to you best wishes for a very peaceful Christmas and a blessed, bountiful and healthy 2016.??Thank you.
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