By Consul General of Barbados at New York, Mackie Holder
Few nationalities embrace this Season and the celebration of Christmas like Barbadians. This is due to our overwhelming Christian faith but also a result of our innate heritage.
This year, one of untold tragedy, marking the Season will be no different. In fact, celebrating Christmas in all the myriad ways will take on particular resonance as a result of the disruption and deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic that has defined our time.
The special allure of the Christmas celebration is its unique ability to bring out the very best in everyone and bring together families, friends and even folks unknown. If for no other reason than an occasion for connecting, we should all be thankful for this time, more so in 2020.
For the overwhelming lessons of this year like no other are that we should cherish those near and dear, we are all our brother’s keeper and, no matter who or where we are, or our circumstances, we are all one in the sight of God.
Thankfully, tangibly, the lessons of the Christmas story have been with us, as we so often wish casually, very vividly throughout the year. The narrative at the heart of the Christmas celebration, that God so loved the world that he gave his only son so all could have salvation, could not be more profound than in this year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At this time of celebration, with all the clapping long gone, the work and worth of frontline workers, still sacrificing, some ultimately, and toiling to protect the rest of us, should have a special place in our hearts and prayers. There have been no similar demonstrations of personal dedication by professionals beyond the call of duty – the vast majority of whom are generally unnoticed – and random acts of kindness in peacetime, in history. Yes, love has abounded all around. The best of humanity, normally seen in an extreme compensatory way at Christmastime, has, thankfully, been with us throughout this year.
As Barbadians, known as we are for our friendliness, helpfulness and goodwill to all men, we should be especially proud of how our leadership and medical personnel have handled the pandemic. That trait of goodwill to all men was outstandingly on display as Barbados extended hospitality to a number of cruise ships and thousands of workers stranded by the pandemic.
We remain thankful that, together, our country has demonstrated its worldwide regard as a balanced nation and we have so managed the crisis with minimal health risk and disruption such that Barbados remains one of the safest and best places on earth. It has also been a year of extraordinary cooperation and collaboration between the Consulate and Barbadian Associations and support by associations and individuals to Barbados.
In the Christmas story, there is also the striking lesson of one born in the most humble of circumstances, overcoming severe tests and rising to save his fellowman.
In this is the concept of hope; that we, too, can overcome and reach for a better time ahead. After a grim year, appropriately at this celebratory time, there is hope in the two vaccines given approval so far to join the war against Covid-19. So as we hasten to put 2020 behind us, let’s look forward, with faith, to a New Year of hope, of comfort and kindness and a return to health, peace and prosperity.
However we gather, in this particular year let’s reinforce the caring and sharing that capture the spirit of Christmas, were evident this year and extend these traits throughout 2021. Let us reflect on our many blessings, remember those sad at this time and continue to bring comfort to needy, give voice to the voiceless and recommit to the betterment of mankind.
Let us manifest our best spiritual and human values especially the spirit of unity that has been evident this year across generations, cultures and colors. The Christmas story, and history, have shown us that the worst of times can become the best of times. As we anticipate new beginnings and better things, let each of us do our utmost to carry on the special spirit of Christmas throughout the New Year.
It is in this spirit that I extend Season’s Greetings to all Barbadians, Barbadian Associations and friends of Barbados – in fact, I say, peace and goodwill to all – and wish everyone the best of everything.
On behalf of the Consulate General of Barbados at New York, Merry Christmas.