By Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, Leader of the Opposition
Another year has passed and this year like before has had its challenges, loss, disappointments, but also its joys and celebrations. Despite it all, God in His mercy continues to bless us with the gift of life and with that continued gift comes hope.
This year as we enter the festive season and approach the closing of a year, automatically we are flung into a period of reflection and introspection. We begin to think of the events of the year now ending and the aspirations for the New Year.
As I address you, my mind is bombarded with three words: gratitude, peace and hope. As I think of the difficult year that is fast approaching its end, I have purposefully abandoned the unfortunate human tendency to focus on all that has perhaps gone wrong in this year not in an effort to dismiss the challenges that remain or those whose effect linger but to honor the Christ of Christmas by choosing instead with a heart of gratitude to focus on the blessings that found its way to our country, our homes and our lives. I sincerely believe that if we were to stop and look through the lens of life with a grateful heart, we will see that things could have been worse and that the blessings still far outweigh the challenges and troubles. We as a people must be careful to not become habitual complainers and frown in the face of God’s many blessings. We still enjoy a peaceful existence and God continues to be faithful from generation to generation. I charge us to focus on the blessings and begin to develop a culture of thanksgiving and gratitude.
And then as we think of Christ and the message of the true reason for the season, we must think of the peace born on that Christmas morn. We know that there remain difficult times ahead for us as a country and as individuals, let us face those challenges with a peace that only comes from God above. Let us in our own way and in our singular efforts seek to reconcile and live at peace with one another and seek after true unity on issues of grave national importance if only for our survival as a people. Let us seek to see the beauty and strengths in our diversity and then to peaceably and respectfully differ without the war of words or other forms of destructive actions. We need each other and going forward let us be slow to create mischief, incite hate and stifle hope among ourselves by our actions. Let us in all sincerity wish each other and work towards peace and goodwill. Let us birth anew a new nation and give God the greatest gift of all as a people: our Nation, remembering that a people whose God is the Lord will rejoice. In that same spirit, let us share even from the little that we have and watch God miraculously and in covenant principles, increase our very own.
During this season, perhaps the single greatest message is hope. Christ’s birth signified hope – hope for a dying world and an ability through his birth and eventual death to be reconciled unto God. That hope is still available and it is the truest source of hope. Let us not hope in man but in the God that gives this hope and in hoping we can rest on his promise that he desires that we prosper as a people and individually.
We are a great people in a great nation. We have so much to be thankful for and a Great God in which we can find peace and hope. Let us with grateful hearts celebrate his birth by ensuring that he remains the welcomed guest at all our celebrations. Let us remember all of our brothers and sisters during this time of year. Let us especially remember those who lost loved ones this year, our elderly, our children, our relatives and friends in Prison, those with special needs, the less fortunate and all those that live among us. I ask us to allow ourselves to be guided by our hopes and not fears and let us share the message of gratitude, peace and hope.
On behalf of the Peoples Democratic Movement: the Official Opposition and our families; and from our home to yours, from our heart to yours, I wish for you a Christ centered Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year.