Christmas Messages
December 22, 2006
The virgin Mary had a baby boy

by Bishop Sonny E. Williams – Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies – St. Vincent and the Grenadines District.

Last month I was greatly impressed with the theme which the National Family Planning Programme in the Ministry of Health selected for their week of activities: “No pain if you abstain”. Equally I was particularly challenged by the following statistics given in a letter dated November 13, 2006, sent by the Acting Coordinator to Heads of Denominations, requesting prayer for the teenagers of St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

1. In 2005, 341 teenagers between ages 10-19 years gave birth. Ten of these were between ages 10 – 14 years;

2. An adolescent survey done in SVG in 2001 revealed that 23 per cent of school children between Grade 6 and Form 5 have had sexual intercourse;

3. Since the onset of the HIV epidemic in SVG from 1984 to the end of June, 2006, 54 teenagers have been infected.

This appraisal of the current situation as it relates to teenagers in our country has prompted me to re-examine one of the chief characters in the Christmas story, Mary. Matthew records that in the sixth month, “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth…to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph…The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel announced “Mary you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a Son…”

“How will this be?” Mary asked the angel, “Since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:26 – 38 NIV)

These two young people, Mary and Joseph took the virtue of chastity seriously. This is a shining example for teenagers to emulate. Abstinence is a decision of the heart. You must desire purity in thought word and deed. Christmas, the season

of festivity presents its usual challenges.

The availability and increased use of alcohol can impair perception and judgment and expose youths to “Risky behaviours”. Mary and Joseph, an engaged couple, had no doubt that the pregnancy was not due to their actions.

This whole issue of teenage purity reminds me of an illustration I once read.

After a violent storm one night, a large tree which was over forty years was found lying across the pathway in a park. Closer examination showed that it was rotten at the core because thousands of tiny insects had eaten away at its heart. The weakness of that tree was not brought on by the sudden storm; it began the very moment the first insect nested within its bark.

The Virgin Mary’s Baby Boy, Jesus has come to transform the heart.

For, the heart of the matter of purity is a matter of the heart.

With the help of this child, let’s be very careful to guard our purity. The illustrious Virgin Mary can inspire young and old towards the pursuit of a life of purity.

I take this opportunity on behalf of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies, St Vincent District to wish all a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year.