CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2013
BY THE RT. REV’D. LAISH BOYD
“Let us not grow weary in well-doing for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”. (Galatians 6:9)
The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are wonderful places to live. Many things that we take for granted are the envy of other nations. We have our challenges just like everyone else, and here are some of them:
· The economy
· The rising cost of living
· Immigration Issues
· The breakdown of community
· The fact that we do not have as much respect for each other and for each other’s property as we used to have.
There are two things which we must not forget:
1. Even in these areas of concern, we are better off than many other places.
2. Most people here are wholesome and positive, and not involved in “the negative”.
However, although the negative behavior is only being exhibited by a small minority, there are ENOUGH negative people and activity for us to be VERY, VERY concerned. Additionally, the economic and other challenges remain great.
Against this backdrop, people tend –
1. to be overwhelmed
2. to be cynical
3. to be bitter
4. to throw up their hands in despair
5. to give up and to say “What’s the use!”
In this kind of environment, it is sometimes hard for people to hear the Christmas message: “God coming into the world as an infant, bringing joy, and new life, … peace on earth, goodwill to all people,” etc. They scoff at the thought of Christian hope. But this message is still true and still timely. God has done and is doing His work in the world. God has done and is doing so many wonderful things through the life and faithfulness of boys, girls, men and women who have not lost sight of His goodness in the “badness” of our world.
As we face the challenges in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and as we face our own personal challenges, let us not give up nor give in. Ask God to help us to be steadfast. Encourage one another to be steadfast.
Victory over great or impossible odds may not be won instantly or in one action. Victory is won through perseverance, by keeping up the little things – through the “trivial round” and the “common task”, as the hymnwriter said. Victory is won by our doing good even when no one can see us, by our doing right even when we “lose” because of it, by our believing in the goodness of God and having faith in the goodness of people, by our realizing that the power of good is always more powerful than the power of evil, by our believing that good will always win out in the end no matter how long it takes.
Many will “suck their teeth” or grunt, “Hmph!” at this thought, but Jesus, through His life, death and resurrection, and throughout human history, has shown us that it is true. Good people and good deeds and positive living MUST hold on in the face of impossible odds. That is one of the hardest things for humans to do in this life – but “hoping beyond hope” is always difficult.
The “joy” of the baby Jesus is experienced instantly in the joys and blessings of life. That joy is also more powerfully experienced when good people persevere in the face of challenge and wrong, when they make mistakes but repent and try to do better, when they fall down but get up every time and press on, when they look back on the day, the week or the year and say, “It was rough. I tried. Many of the problems are still there. But at least I gave it my best, and I will never stop trying.”
This is when the call of Jesus has its full power. This is when the hope of the gospel becomes real. This is when the gospel is truly “life-changing.”
The Most Rev’d. John Holder, Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of Barbados, recently issued a tribute on the passing of Nelson Mandela. He begins it with the following words:
“There are some points in human history when the world comes face to face with the greatest of human possibilities. It pauses and it discovers that in spite of all the atrocities of history, in spite of the negatives in human relationships, there is still in each of us a potential for good that can be released, developed and put to work to make the world a better place”.
This is an apt description of what Nelson Mandela stood for, and of what he accomplished in South Africa – IN THE FACE OF INCREDIBLE ODDS. This reminds us of what our posture should be as we face life in our own two beloved countries.
Jesus came to show us that, no matter what the challenges, there is a spark of Him that we can discover inside of us to face the world and to be victorious.
Allow His birth and the message He comes to bring to change your life and your environment. Allow Him to change you and the world.
My family joins me in wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.