What is the reason for the season?
Is it gifts? Parties? Family gatherings? Holidays? The birth of Jesus Christ the saviour? None of these answers are wrong.
Depending on whom you ask, all of us will have different answers.
Others could say it is all of the above and there is nothing wrong with that. After all, all those answers and more represent what Christmas means.
Even to people who don’t believe in the birth of Jesus Christ the Saviour, Christmas time is special to them. Everyone has something to be grateful for and Christmas allows people of every religion and philosophical outlook to take time from their busy lives to reflect and revel in the company of families and friends.
Christmas is about quality time, a moment to pause and acknowledge the divine work of the Almighty and his amazing plan for our lives. Needless to say, a day away from Christmas, today is a day to be thankful and rejoice. It is a moment to take a breather – if you are done with your Christmas shopping - take stock of our blessings.
There is no doubt that we live in a world full of problems. Almost everywhere you look, there is sadness, destruction and devastation. Poverty, struggles, hardships, violence and unemployment continue to be perennial challenges that refuse to go away. They stare at us in the face everyday.
Here in Samoa, we have not been problem-free ourselves either. The surge in crime and violent offending is a real concern. A couple of recent incidents where lives have tragically been lost have rocked the core of this nation, so that we have seen the worst of our people online through the social media forums.
But these are the challenges of our time. These are what will define the kind of leadership we see today, it is how they respond to these challenges to keep the peace and maintain harmony.
Speaking of peace, today we want to commend the Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, who issued a timely and impassionate call for calm and peace last week. In times like this when the going gets tough and people are suffering, we look to our leaders for guidance and instructions. Suffice to say; we haven’t seen anything meaningful from anyone of them amidst the recent troubles. Not from political leaders, church leaders or village leaders.
But cometh the hour cometh the man and that man last week was the Attorney General Lemalu, who spoke out as the country counted down to Christmas.
Listen to Lemalu again: “This is an extremely difficult season and situation and our hearts go out to the family of the young man who has passed away, and all families who have lost loved ones to criminal activity this year.
“We ask for a peace and calm at this time while we work through the difficult procedures and legal steps required for this matter.
“We respectfully urge therefore for a calm while we attempt to undertake this difficult task the best we can. We also ask for a peaceful approach as any further unfortunate incidents can only make matters worse.
“We at Law Enforcement have a sworn duty to uphold the Rule of law and the Constitution of our Country. Rest Assured, we remain committed to this Oath. God’s Peace this Xmas.”
Indeed, today is a time to think about new beginnings, peace and joy. We’ve always reminded that at this time of the year, this is the reason for the season. God, through the birth of his son Jesus Christ, brought hope to a world that was lost and destined for eternal damnation. This is why he is the reason for the season, not the gifts, or all the other stuff we do as part of merry-making.
Today, let’s remember that Jesus Christ is the hope of all. Jesus is hope to the person who is out of work, to the family with no money, the businessman and woman who are struggling to get by and everyone out there experiencing difficulties.
If you are going through sickness, Jesus is your healer. Jesus breaks bondages if you are depressed. He can be your friend if you are lonely. If you are feeling weak, ask him to make you strong. If you are poor, ask him how he can turn your fortunes around. If you feel guilty about something you have done, confess and he is faithful to forgive you. It’s that simple.
Lastly, Jesus is no longer a baby.
Don’t be fooled, we are not celebrating the mere birth of a baby anymore. We should be rejoicing in a triumphant Saviour who came, paid our sins through his blood, conquered death and rose again so that every one has hope.
Merry Christmas Samoa, God bless!