Christmas Messages
December 19, 2014
We cannot separate the sacred from the secular

Fri, Dec 19, 2014

SVG Christian Council Christmas Message 2014

At Christmas we celebrate the Incarnation, the birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It has to do with the coming together of the divine and human for the salvation of the world. St John tells us ‘the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ (John 1:14). The Evangelist Matthew says ‘she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:21) St Paul in writing to the Galatians states that ‘when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.(Galatians 4:4-5) St John again informs us that the incarnation was a demonstration of God’s love: ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16){{more}}

The Incarnation makes a clear statement of God’s presence and involvement in the world, as a result we cannot separate the sacred from the secular, God created heaven and earth and all that exists, both seen and unseen. As we read in the book of Genesis the universe is good, and God sustains and directs it. Thus we are called to enjoy it and to care for it in accordance with God’s purposes. It also means that all people are worthy of respect and honour.

But something went amiss since what God created is good. Human beings misused their creaturely freedom and made wrong choices which brought about sin, separation, corruption, division, hatred, selfishness, arrogance, unrighteousness and disobedience. But God’s intention of a world where there is peace, love, joy, harmony, fellowship and righteousness never changed. Thus Christ has come to cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, there is a fundamental difference between darkness and light and we should not seek to have them become intermingled, they should always remain decipherable. Amidst all the confusion, pain and misery, natural disasters, corruption, dishonesty, division, hatred, wars, conflicts and godlessness in the world and conscious of its own unworthiness, the Christian soul still longs for the saving grace and love of Jesus Christ. Christmas assures us that God is not so far away that he cannot hear nor respond to such longing, rather he is in our midst and is always ready to reach out to us even before we request it.

We celebrate this matchless love of God at Christmas, a love which goes beyond all boundaries, a love which is not deterred by our acts of rejection and sin, a love which works to restore human dignity, a love which calls us out of darkness into God’s own marvelous light, a love which enters into our human experience and offers us transformation, healing, and peace.

So there was Christmas in St Vincent and the Grenadines last year, December, 2013 in spite of the devastation caused by the weather system which passed then. For Christmas emphasises the truth that God comes to us, is with us in our human situation. God is not only present and involved in our lives when things are pleasant, comfortable and satisfying; but also in the harsh realities of life, the storms, floods, landslides, destruction of homes, roads, bridges, agriculture, lost of personal effects and of lives.

The message of Christmas gives us hope that our yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, not only from personal guilt and sin, and systemic evil, but also from the ravages of natural disasters like the one we experienced last December is found in Jesus Christ.

Christmas is much more than eating and drinking and having fun, it is the celebration of a religious truth, a celebration of faith in God who has the power to save us and who offers us abundant life, life in all its fullness. So at the heart of this celebration is worship: thanksgiving, adoration and praise. But celebration is not authentic if we fail to engage the present situation of our existence as a nation and a people. Coming to light is the high rate of homicides (37 at the time of writing) for the year 2014, the extent of gender violence and violence against children, the several complaints of political victimisation, the increasing rate of unemployment, the increase in vagrants and homeless people in Kingstown, the alarming rate of amputations due to diabetes and the list goes on.

The Incarnation is about God’s solidarity with humans and all His creation. We are called to emulate God. There are several groups, organisations, churches and public officials who are working feverishly to address these issues. The message of Christmas demands that we not only encourage those who are involved in these efforts but that as a people and nation we reflect on the ways in which we contribute towards and perpetuate these concerns and commit ourselves to make the necessary change in our attitudes, behaviours and dispositions and to educate ourselves on these matters and join in efforts to provide a more wholesome, healthy, harmonising, peaceful, compassionate and just society.

In light of the incarnation the St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council urges all Vincentians particularly those in public office to apologise for their own shortcomings, and to forgive those who have done them wrong so that the spirit of love, fellowship and peace, which the Christ child came to give may be experienced in this blessed land of ours, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

We take this opportunity to wish you all a Blessed and Holy Christmas.

Monsignor Michael Stewart

Rt Rev’d C Leopold Friday

Rev’d Adolf Davis

Major Pierre Antoine