Christmas message from Rev. Dr Cicely Athill-Horsford, chairman, Barbados Christian Council:
The real story of Christmas abounds with miracles – the star that guided the Wise Men; and the angelic appearances such as the visit by Gabriel to Zachariah to tell him of the birth of John the Baptist and the annunciation of the birth of Jesus to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
These are consistent with the awesome appearances to Joseph and the shepherds. There is also the anthem of praise by the angelic choir.
The miraculous events continue as we read about how the Wise Men are warned in a dream not to return to Herod, the birth of John the Baptist even though his parents were advanced in age, the eventual birth of Jesus as well as Joseph’s duty of protection as he is directed by an angel to go to Egypt and then told at the appropriate time to depart from Egypt.
The birth of Jesus Christ is the most meaningful and unique birth in the annals of time. Christ existed from all eternity; He was in the beginning with God (John 1:1). The miracles of Christmas are manifold and they have a message for us today.
This year has not been the best one for all of us. By now we were hoping COVID-19 would have been behind us and that life would have been back to normal – the way we knew it. Here we are, another Christmas, with all of the health protocols still in place, another variant (Omicron) threatening and no end in sight. In addition, many of us have lost loved ones to the deadly virus.
We can do with a miracle, a message of hope to help us through; a message that can lift us out of the mire; a message that will bring peace and joy; a message that will strengthen and sustain us as we face tomorrow.
That miracle comes as we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. The implication of that birth is that God Almighty cares for us and despite His awesome nature, seeks not only to touch us, but to be one with us. With that birth comes not only the Word of God but also the Light of the World (John 8:12).
In the midst of much darkness in our world, in our nation, in our community and neighbourhood, in our home and family, “the light has come”, as God speaking through the Prophet Isaiah concerning Israel stated: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light, they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined . . . . For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6)
The message for us today is that we are the children of God, God loves us and God is with us. With the coming of Christ, we are given the promise of His continuing and sustaining power.
In the midst of the current pandemic, let us not lose hope. In the context of bewilderment and sense of loss that we may feel, let us join in singing the song of the angels, “Glory to God in the Highest”. This, of course, will mean absolute trust in God, who will always be with us and will never leave or forsake us.
Each of us has a duty to the other. This Christmas, in our celebration, let us have uppermost in our minds that we must protect each other, especially those most vulnerable such as our elderly relatives.
May the peace of Christ be with us this Christmas and always. As we sing the lovely hymns and carols of the season, may the words bring meaning to our lives.
On behalf of the Barbados Christian Council, I wish you and your respective families God’s blessings at this special time. Have a joyful and peaceful Christmastime, and a healthy and safe New Year.