Christmas Address By NRP Leader Dr. Janice Daniel-Hodge
My fellow Nevisians and residents, friends and family, today we join millions around the world to rejoice in the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We have come to know Christmas is a time of joy, a time for love, a time of giving and most importantly a time of spiritual reflection.
2021 has been no ordinary year, neither would this Christmas Day be an ordinary one. We know that this year has been a challenging one for many among us. We know that there will be empty seats at many Christmas tables because we have lost loved ones. We know that there will be empty plates that would ordinarily be filled, but so many are without steady jobs and a sustainable income seems so far out of reach. Especially for this Christmas season, therefore, we must find it in our hearts to let love and kindness prevail; we must find it in our hearts to be selfless and to give unto others when we can.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the Inn. We are told that when the angel of the Lord appeared before the shepherds, who were in the nearby fields and afraid, the angel told them do not to be afraid because I bring to you good news…that Jesus Christ is born. Given unto man by God, Jesus was the first Christmas gift…He was a gift of love, a gift of peace and a gift of hope.
Therefore, despite the challenges of this year…… the Covid-19 Pandemic, high unemployment rate, violence, loss of civil liberties, loss of loved ones, disrupted schools, overworked health care providers….despite the bitterness, the angriness, the frustrations and lack of direction that we so often had to endure…… despite all these challenges, let us make this Christmas Season about God…. About being thankful…..about love…. about giving…. and about hope.
Let us be thankful to God for life and for our friends and families. Let us be thankful for our sunshine and rainfall and fertile lands, thankful for an uneventful hurricane season, despite the more visible impacts of climate change that are creeping into the environment. Let us be thankful that we did not suffer more severe economic and health impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic; and for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us, individually and collectively, let us be thankful. Additionally, as many other projects on Nevis are still incomplete, let us be thankful for the completion of the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park. May we take some time during the season to enjoy that beautiful addition to our island’s landscape and while there, may we reflect on the vision and the contributions of the great man in whose honour the Park was named.
During this Covid-19 era, with elections looming and much uncertainty all around us, we must be steadfast in our ambitions for Nevis and we must be bound by common principles that unite us and strengthen us as a people. Let us be united in God, let us vow to love one another as God loved us. Mathew 7:12 tells us “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you”. If we can exemplify the loving and the giving spirit of the Christmas season, now and throughout the year, then we can have hope, much hope, for a brighter, more prosperous Nevis.
For this Christmas season, let us hope for a better Nevis, where equal and equitable access to resources and opportunities are available to all, where we feed the hungry and care for the sick as we would for our very own, where our workers are not discriminated upon because they are labeled as established or non-established workers; Let us hope for a Nevis where our natural resources are valued and purposefully utilized to improve our livelihoods and our quality of life…especially to produce cheaper renewable electricity. Let us hope and pray that once again Nevis can have a leader, who has a vision for Nevis and who will work with others, locally and globally, to recreate the prosperity that Nevis once had. Let us hope for these things because Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11 tells us that the Lord plans to prosper you and he plans to give you hope and a future. Additionally, Proverbs chapter 10 verse 28 tells us “The hope of the righteous brings joy…..
As we retell the story from that Holy Night, when Jesus Christ was born, let us remember the message of Christmas – one of boundless love, one of compassion and one of hope. The Nevis Reformation Party, which I so proudly lead, continues to listen to our people and understand our people and, despite in opposition, continues to show compassion and help our people. We have demonstrated, especially over the last year, that our brothers and our sisters, regardless of race, regardless of wealth, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of any difference which has been bestowed upon us to make us diverse and beautiful in the eyes of our creator, are always, always welcome in our midst because the scripture tells us that we are strongest working together in unity (1 Corinthians 12:14).
My fellow Nevisians and residents, our better days are ahead. We must be relentless and work together, with a clear vision, to bring peace, progress and prosperity to the people of Nevis and to our beloved country.
As we move around during this Christmas season, I encourage everyone to be mindful of COVID-19 and to ensure that the required protocols are complied with.
On behalf of the Nevis Reformation Party, I pray that each of us would have a blessed and safe Christmas Season. I wish a very merry Christmas to you and yours and may God continue to bless us all.