Christmas 2001 Address by Honourable Ferguson John
Christmas is special.
Isn't it? Despite the commercialism that threatens to change its meaning, despite the fact that we must be reminded to keep Christ in Christmas, the tradition noel that Christians all over the world recognise ensures that we make that special effort to celebrate the birthday of our Lord.
Some of us can afford to be more elaborate than others. Some of us can show very little in our efforts to celebrate.... But all of us know that this time of year is special and that this season of good cheer, of giving and of making others happy must be recognised.
After all we are all Christians, and the fact that our own vulnerability means that we cannot always strictly subscribe to the ten Commandments we all remain committed to the Christian ethic.
Non believers are virtually non existent. The proverbial needle in the haystack is far more visible.
So while our belief may not be reflected in our presence in congregations on Sunday mornings we remain truly Christian. Midnight mass will see a significant increase in congregations across the country.
And here lies a challenge to our spiritual leaders: Why are believers so reluctant to participate in normal Christian activity? Why do we find the methods of worship so unattractive, even boring? How can we rethink our methods of worship so that believers find participation irresistible ?
This Christmas we all should begin thinking about how we could use our belief in Christ to benefit ourselves and our communities, how we can demonstrate more love for our neighbours and how we can satisfy ourselves that the Christian in us is manifested in our everyday activities.
Whether by accident or design the just concluded General Elections coincided with the season of good cheer.
Perhaps it is that season, such a natural part of us, that assisted in us experiencing an election campaign that was relatively peaceful and relatively incident free. And perhaps because of this season any wounds that were opened can be healed relatively quickly.
We must thank God that he has given us the facility to appreciate that others have a different view and that the love we have for each other allows us to respect the opposing view and to accept the results that our own democracy provides.
That is why however you voted, wherever you voted, you can be assured that you will be well represented by your Parliamentary Representative.
This Christmas many of my constituents in Choiseul and in Saltibus will continue to travel on roads that are obviously substandard and many will feel the frustrations and the humiliation that unemployment carries. Please be assured our government is fully aware of these problems and every effort will be made to address them. I share those legitimate concerns and trust that these shortcomings will not dampen the Christmas spirit.
Wherever you are be it in Park Estate or Darban in Morne Sion or in Roblot I want you to share in the spirit of Christmas that brings with it love for all of us.
So we must remember the less privileged in our communities, the older persons who have no families left to celebrate with, single persons caught in Society's vicious circle and unable to fend for themselves, the sick and dying whose chances of experiencing another Christmas seem remote. Let us pledge to make their Christmas truly merry.
And we cannot forget those persons locked away, paying their debt to society because of various indiscretions that offend us. They cannot join and celebrate with us but they too are entitled to a Merry Christmas. Neither should we forget those on death row awaiting the hangman's call. We must join them in hoping that our country appreciates that the death penalty does not solve crimes of murder - that two wrongs do not make a right.
My friends, there is much in this world that annoys us, but there us much to uplift us. With all its share of drudgery and broken dreams, this is still a beautiful world. This Christmas we must continue to love one another as Christ loved us.
That way we are guaranteed a very Merry Christmas.
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