We are celebrating another Christmas Day during very strange and troubling times. This Christmas Day dawns at a time when a lot is not right around us. In as much that the past weeks were filled with lots of shopping, eating, drinking, festivities and parties—none of which bears any significance to the true meaning of what we are celebrating today, there has been too much evil among us. This Christmas challenges us to look closer at ourselves and the society in which we live and to see the violence being meted out to our women; dozens of them butchered by their so- called lovers and partners during this year; children—young girls being sexually violated; the mentally- ill left abandoned, to roam our streets and towns; our pathways and environment being overtaken by tons of garbage due to the care- free attitudes of many when it comes to littering; many among us left hungry, wondering where their next meal would come from; yes, this is what Christmas Day today brings with it. The thing is, do we recognize all of this, or are we too caught up with the artificial celebrations of this season?
The eating, drinking, partying, cooking, shopping, drunkenness; all polluting the real meanings of this special day for Christians. This Christmas, each and every one of us is therefore challenged to reflect on what our society has become; what is happening around us; and become innovative thinkers about ways to fix these issues.
Just look around you on this Christmas Day, see your neighbour in need; a child crying out for help; a woman struggling in the midst of being beaten and tormented by her husband, and the children who witness their mothers at the receiving end of the wrath of their fathers. What about those who are marginalized in our society, because of their peculiar preferences which others just cannot see eye to eye with? They experience discrimination from sections of the population, even though we preach about equal rights for all human beings despite their preferences or choice of lifestyle. Is this how we build a nation?
What about our parliament, where there exists a division, discord among our political leaders—between the leaders of the opposition and the government? Can we ask for a Christmas miracle, that these persons start working together for the common good of our nation, once and for all?
Jesus Christ brings a clear message of hope to us all; a message of love, peace, and joy. Yes, the Babe of Bethlehem brings hope for those who have given up; peace to those who are tormented and abused; and justice to those being taken advantage of.
The worldly celebrations of eating, drinking and making merry are not at all condemned or wrong. But make sure you take time today to truly and deeply reflect on what you are celebrating; God coming into our world, not on his chariots, with horns blowing during a massive parade and army—no—God coming into our world on a silent, winter’s night, in a stable, amongst animals, and ordinary poor people, in the form of a baby, a tiny baby—that was what the first Christmas was like. God coming into the world in flesh, to manifest himself through his son, Jesus Christ, to bring hope and peace to our troubled world.
The message of Christmas does not end today; rather it comes full circle when Christ died on the cross on Good Friday. So, Christmas is connected to what Christians will be celebrating a few months from today.
Let us be our brother’s keeper; let us be our neighbour’s friend; let us be that change so badly needed in our country today. Let us let the message of Christmas inspire us so much to action; action to create a better Guyana for all.
That’s my message for Christmas today. Warm wishes for a blessed and Christ-centred Christmas day to all of you, especially the management and staff of the Stabroek News.
Special wishes for a peaceful Christmas. Do have a wonderful day. Spend it with your families and friends. Enjoy, eat, drink and be happy; but remember, when all is said and done, Christmas remains only and only about one thing, one message, one significance—Jesus is born, Jesus came into the world to inspire men to live their lives differently; to die for the sins of the world. And do have an inspiring and rewarding New Year. Another year of hard work to build this great nation awaits us. Will you do your share?
Merry Christmas to all!
Leon Jameson Suseran