came to teach a gospel of love. Those of us who are his followers
have a duty to reject the culture of death that is so prevalent
today and to promote a culture of life, love, joy and peace.
a sign of the times that many people seem to have forgotten
the true meaning of Christmas.
A few days ago as I was driving to Port-of-Spain, I heard
a radio talk show host ask his colleague what is the first
thing that he thinks of when he thinks of Christmas. Without
hesitation his colleague answered: My Christmas bonus!
I decided to ask 50 people the same question. I selected people
randomly in various parts of T&T. I did not seek information
about their religious persuasion. I assume that among the
50 there were people from various religious backgrounds.
I was surprised to discover that only eight of the 50 people
I approached think of the birth of Christ or attending church
services when they think about Christmas.
Other answers included: parang, sorrel, ginger beer, ham,
turkey, shopping, cooking/baking, cleaning house/painting/decorating,
receiving presents, school holidays, time off from work, partying,
visiting or welcoming relatives, travelling abroad.
Recently I read about a survey conducted by the Daily Mail
newspaper in the UK. This newspaper surveyed 5,500 cards on
sale in High Street stores in the UK and found only 67 with
pictures of the Bible story. Sadly, the report states that:
images have been banished from almost all the Christmas cards
on sale in High Street shops. Traditional Nativity pictures
such as angels over a stable, Jesus in his manger and the
three wise men appear on only one in 100 cards surveyed by
the Daily Mail.
images have been replaced by a bizarre selection including
brussel sprouts, a shoe, a moonlight bridge and a line of
meercats. One card even carried the potentially offensive
suggestion that shepherds saw an angel appear only because
they had been smoking drugs.
groups and members of Parliament were horrified. They feared
the multi-million pound industry was shunning religious images
because of political correctness and the fear of offending
other faiths. There were calls for a boycott to force manufacturers
to restore the true meaning of Christmas...
Royal Mail has also faced criticism for axing the Bible story
from its festive stamps.
This is the tip of the iceberg. The report highlights the
fact that in Britain many primary schools and nurseries
have replaced the traditional Nativity plays with something
more secular and in these plays not a single angel, innkeeper
or Baby Jesus grace the stage. And instead of the heart-warming
rendition of Christmas carols, the children were singing jingle
In the US the war on Christmascontinues apace.
You will have read in our local media about the fiasco regarding
the nine fully decorated Christmas/holiday trees
at the international terminal at Seattle-Tacoma Airport.
And then there is the remake of the 1974 horror movie, Black
Christmas, which will be released on Christmas Day in the
US. Complaints by religious groups fall on deaf ears. As Matthew
Staver of Liberty Counsel says:
have a movie that emphasises murder and mayhem at Christmas,
a time of celebration and joy around the world, seems to be
Christ came to teach a gospel of love. Those of us who are
his followers have a duty to reject the culture of death that
is so prevalent today and to promote a culture of life, love,
joy and peace.
As we approach the fourth Sunday of Advent which falls on
Christmas Eve, let us reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
During Advent we wait with joyful expectation for the commemoration
of the birth of Christ, the Son of God, who came to Earth
in human form to give us eternal life.
During Advent we prepare ourselves for this great event through,
eg, prayer, meditation, penance, personal renewal, enhancing
our spiritual development. Let us offer praise and thanksgiving
to God for his unfailing love for us which He demonstrated
by sending His only Son to redeem us.
Recently I spoke to my great niece, Cherisse, who is six years
old and who lives in London. She had told me previously that
she was shining some of her semi-precious stones which she
collects so that she could wrap them and leave them for Jesus
under her Christmas tree.
Cherisse has now changed her mind. Since she is sure that
Jesus has enough semi-precious stones, she has decided to
give Jesus her heart instead. She added that she was trying
not to fight with her younger brother, NKai, so that
her heart will be good for Jesus at Christmas!
The innocence of six-year-old Cherisse sends a clear message
to us. During Advent we should be working hard to shine
our hearts so that we can give them to Jesusnot only
at Christmas but each day of our lives.
If we want our hearts to be good for Jesus at
Christmas, then we must remember our identity as children
of God and try to get right our relationship with God and
with each other.
Following my article last week on Dealing with grief,
I received many e-mails from individuals who found it a source
of comfort in their time of grief. I promised to share a few
stanzas from the poem My First Christmas in Heaven,
sent to me by Y Khan:
see the countless Christmas trees around the world below.
With tiny lights, like Heavens stars, reflecting on
the snow. The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that
tear. For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year...
know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart.
But I am not so far away, we really are not apart. So be happy
for me dear ones, you know I hold you dear. And be glad I
am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
send you each a special gift from my heavenly home above.
I send you each a memory of my undying love. After all love
is the gift, more precious that gold. It was always more important
in the stories Jesus told.
love and keep each other, as my Father said to do. For I cant
count the blessing or love He has for you. So, have a merry
Christmas, and wipe away that tear. Remember Im spending
Christmas with Jesus Christ this year (by Wanda Bencke).
Let us awaken the true spirit of Christmas in our lives and
be generous to those in need. Wishing you a blessed and peaceful
n Leela Ramdeen is a lawyer
and education consultant