A time for joy and hope

Christmas message from Dr Nigel L. Taylor, president, Barbados Evangelical Association:

Today, as we celebrate the birth of Our Saviour, we extend season’s greetings from the Barbados Evangelical Association.

It is the hope of the Executive that this Christmas season, coming on the heels of the celebration of our 55th anniversary of Independence, the transition to a Parliamentary Republic and the investiture of a new President of the republic of Barbados will cause you and your families to sense and feel the hope of a better tomorrow at this time, even while we face the encounters in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The season of Advent is a time of joy and as we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate a festival of hope, joy and peace.  With the dawn of Covid-19 last year and its continuance into this current year, there was the clear revelation that most of us could not have participated or host the type of celebrations with families, friends, and communities with which we were accustomed.

Even after almost two years we are still attempting to come to grips with this global pandemic as it continues to impact our lives. As a result, we are confronted with worry, stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges caused by the ongoing uncertainties and instabilities which have been occurring within our lives daily.

Many of us have experienced that fear and anxiety occasioned by the impact of lockdowns, social distancing, isolation and quarantine measures and even financial insecurities which created increased emotional and psychological trauma within the lives of Barbadians.

We have seen members of our vulnerable populations succumb to this illness while leaving voids within the family circle.  It is against this background and these challenges that we are preparing to celebrate Christmas.  A cursory glance at the situation in Bethlehem on that first Christmas morning makes it obvious that joy was born in the midst of great grief and distress. Our Christian world could add to its Christmas joy by returning to confidence in the wisdom of God who challenges us to trust Him.

Christmas is a celebration of God’s manifestation in this world of darkness, suffering, and death to bring light, healing, and life. As such, it reminds us that Christ came into this world not only to set us free from spiritual bondage but from every form of bondage which might entrap us at this time.

The Christian Church has always been prompt in reminding us that Christmas vividly assures us that Christ came into this world to live among us (John1:14), giving us the assurance of “God with Us” (Matthew 2:23) even in the midst of the ongoing pandemic and all the chaos that it has created.

In the world of pandemic, where we are distanced from one another, living in isolation, separated from friends, families, relatives, and co-workers, Christmas gives us assurance that the God came down to live with us—live in fellowship with us—so that we are not alone, not isolated, and not distanced, but in fellowship with Him who is “with us” always. The world desperately needs hope in these hard times. For many of us, Christmas will always infuse hope, peace and joy into mankind who has been repeatedly torn by the anxiety of deep, bitter sorrow. Therefore, we welcome “God with us” as our message of Hope and Joy.

The promise of this Christmas is that God is with us, giving us strength in the place of weakness, fellowship in the place of isolation, courage in the place of fear, and life in the place of death. Let us spread this message of hope and this Christmas manifest these attributes which if applied are more contagious than Covid.

It is this message, the only message which will calm our troubled and distressed hearts in this atmosphere of challenges.  It is also the message of Christmas which will lift our hearts in joy throughout the entire coming year, long after the physical trappings of Christmas have been destroyed.

As we celebrate at this time let us continue to uphold hope and share joy. We know that hope and joy are stronger than despair and sorrow. May this season of Christmas be a time of realizing such.

Have a Blessed Christmas and anticipate that the future, the year 2022, will certainly be brighter than is predicted.

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