Today, Guyanese from all walks of life are celebrating Christmas at home and in the diaspora. Christmas is a time of joy, peace and goodwill towards all mankind and to strengthen bonds with loved ones and within communities. In the Guyanese tradition, Christmas is a time to spread happiness with family and friends, attend parties and partake in the finest Guyanese dishes.
This Yuletide season should serve as a period of reflection on our lives and how we must redouble our efforts to live in peace and harmony, build a better and prosperous Guyana and provide a better life for all. It is a time when Christians come together to sing lustily in their places of worship as they joyously celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas will greet some of us feeling on top of the world, happy to be alive, despite the challenges facing the country. But it will find many others feeling unhappy, some through their own faults, while others are victims of circumstance––joblessness, poverty or personal illness.
We hope that the less fortunate will get the opportunity to experience the joy of Christmas through the generous acts of kindness from those who are better off and are conscious of their obligation to their fellowman. On this festive occasion, we must all pray for those who are bed-ridden, the less fortunate, those who have lost loved ones during the year, and for those battling depression, alcohol and substance abuse. Let us hope that their spirits will be lifted and that they will seek help and refrain from their bad habits.
It is that time of the year when the poor feel, most acutely, the deep distress of not being able to provide for their families as they would like, particularly their children who are too young to even understand the meaning of poverty. We should show compassion to them as Jesus did in an earlier time period.
Christmas is also a time for healing and to forget the hurt, animosity, persecution and bitterness, to renew our love for one another; hold out a hand of friendship to neighbours and friends and to those from whom we have been estranged and have done us wrong.
As we gather to share gifts and feast together, we must recapture the spirit of the message that brought joy to the world 2000 years ago—a child born to save the world in a manger surrounded by animals.
The spirit of giving has not been made easy for many who wanted to give but are not in a position to do so. The happiness and joy of Christmas continues to elude the poor and the downtrodden in Guyana. Too often, it is the greedy, not the needy; the rich and not the poor who enjoy Christmas.
We must not forget the tragedies the country has experienced, the goodness and kindness shown to us by others, and be thankful for the peace that has surrounded our nation during difficult times.
Christmas has become much more than a religious event for Christians celebrating Jesus’ birth. It is also celebrated by non-religious groups, and shown respect by people of other faiths. In many ways, it is unfortunate that it has become overly commercialized.
In light of the passage of the fall of the government, the holidays should give the ruling elite and the opposition a chance to reflect on the importance of inclusive governance, so that they can make better decisions in the interest of the people.
As a nation, we are hoping that the festive season will bring healing, atonement, cooperation and genuine and competent leadership. Best wishes for an enjoyable, peaceful, safe and merry Christmas to all.
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