EDITORIAL: A message for all
The final Sunday of this year finds us appropriately enough celebrating the birth of the Baby Jesus, and rejoicing at the message of hope that His birth brought to mankind.
It is an eternal message which has lasted down through the years and we renew our faith in the message of hope and love for mankind.
We remember and celebrate the joy of His birth, always conscious that as a community of people we must ever be mindful of the need to love our neighbour even as we love ourselves.
This injunction which fell from the mouth of the adult Jesus is a message of community in which the personal interest of the individual is subsumed under the broader interest of the community.
It is a two-way message consistent with every man’s assertion of his rights and his often understated responsibility to his neighbours, and it is a veritable road map for peaceful co-existence and tolerance for each other.
We have more vigorously embraced the message of hope; but alas, we have honoured more in the breach, than the observance the message of love. But during this past year, we have noticed perhaps a flicker of hope that the religious message of brotherly love is being used as a force for good.
The recent events in the Middle East, triggered by the suicide of a young Tunisian man, is a poignant reminder of man’s intolerance to man, ruthlessly exercised by an uncaring state.
Yet the action which followed is an even more powerful statement that as individuals, we accept that we are our brother’s keeper and as such, we are all touched by the treatment meted out to our brother and that we regard his ill-treatment as a personal affront, simply because we love our neighbour as ourself.
That thousands of people were prepared to risk life and limb in pursuit of democracy, which they might not have lived to enjoy, is a potent message modelled on the Christian precept that the greatest love that one man can have for another is to give his life for his friend.
And the message is powerful.
It can transcend culture and it can spread across nations whose people may not be Christians, but believe fervently in the message of brotherly love.
During this past year too, we have had people here and there, marching and congregating voluntarily in support of a plea for action to mitigate the expression of man’s inhumanity to man, whether the alleged expression of such inhumanity occurred in the course of an alleged public outrage or within the confines of private domesticity.
It is a good sign of community that people are openly expressing their grief and disapproval of such behaviour, but such community spirit is totally consistent with the message of hope and love which characterized the birth and life of the baby born in the manger.
We anticipate that given the continuing recession, there will be other community expressions of love, but we cannot help but express our admiration for those secret Santas who because they can afford to do so, are paying off in full those layaway accounts of other peoples whom they do not know.
The generous act of love is to make sure that Christmas joy this year is spread a little further and that some children are not disappointed because the recession would have meant their parents might find it difficult if not impossible to complete the purchase of toys and other gifts this year.
All these wonderful and selfless acts of love which warm the heart of people everywhere show us that the message of love and sharing and caring is not lost, and that we can either as a community or as private individuals make sure that always, in and out of season, we remain true to the message of love and hope.
Merry Christmas to one and all.