By Bishop Delton Fernander
Christian Council President
My brothers and sisters,
We are blessed to be able to experience another Christmas season. As we go about busying ourselves, celebrating and preparing for Christmas Day, we should remember that this is the time set aside to commemorate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. His birth and the ultimate sacrifice that he made for us should be foremost in our minds.
It is easy to forget what really matters when faced with the commercialisation of the holidays. We place undue pressure on ourselves to purchase expensive gifts and to out do one another with festivities. We should take this time to reflect on the goodness of God and the grace that he has shown to us as a nation and individuals. Many who began the year with us are no longer here in the physical world to share in these joyous occasions. We can no longer give them gifts but we can cherish the memories we have of them. This is what is important.
As a nation of people blessed with an abundance of potential we cannot continue to let the years roll by without tapping into that potential. We must recognise that we hold the answers to the issues that we face within us. Each and everyone of us were born with talents that can be used. We should seek to use those talents to build our nation and to uplift ourselves and others. We cannot continue to seek answers in the same places we found lacking. Just as time marches on we must also move forward with God as our guide.
The Bahamas has been incredibly blessed to not have any major natural disasters this year with which to contend. We were sparred the wrath of major hurricanes and other storms that wreaked havoc in countries around us. For this, we should be immensely grateful. Though we have our challenges, we should also be grateful that we are a free people able to move about and express ourselves as we see fit.
While it has been more than a year since our elections occurred we seem to still be divided along partisan party lines. It should be understood that we are all Bahamians and we all share this land. Though we may have ideological differences, it is in the best interest of us all that our country thrives. With this in mind, we must do all that we can to reach across the proverbial aisle to accomplish what we must for our country. Whether this means sharing ideas, widespread consultation or admitting when we are wrong etc., we should all have the welfare of our country and it’s citizens at heart and not our individual ambitions.
This year has been a difficult one for many people who have had a hard time making ends meet. We should not forget them in our giving this Christmas. Those of us who can should seek to share our good fortunate with those less fortunate. There are also Bahamians who have lost loved ones and find it hard to see the joy in this time of year. They need our compassion.
Christmas should remind us of the value of family. Whether by blood, sentiment or geography we are all connected. Let us not let trivial pursuits and arguments estrange us from our families. Strong families are the bedrock of any society and should be held in the highest regard. Mindful of this fact, we should make amends with those that we have wronged and who we think have wronged us understanding that we all have sinned and were in need of God’s forgiveness.
In the time left before this year comes to a close and another begins, we should decompress and plan for the new year ahead. We must understand that while God is our provider, we cannot have faith without putting in the work to change our current circumstances. If there is something that you wish to accomplish in the coming year now is an opportune time to put pen to paper and devise an actual workable plan.
We should all look forward with hope and faith. Jesus came that we should have life more abundantly. The only hindrance to that abundant life is our belief in whether we can achieve it or not. The next year is a blank slate, we write our fortunes based on our beliefs and actions.
I sincerely hope that we will all end this year in worship to God in the church of our choice. There is much to be thankful for and much to look forward to. With God’s guidance there is no limit to what we can accomplish as a nation, as a people and as individuals. I look forward to hearing the praise reports in the coming year from those who choose to trust God and to stretch out on faith.
I wish all Bahamians a very merry Christmas and a prosperous and happy new year! God bless you and may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.