It is most certainly not just another Christmas in The Bahamas. After Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama, leaving many people without homes and lives lost – that, combined with the many other perplexities people are challenged with – is cause for many people to want to skip this period entirely. But family ministry pastor Ricardo Miller says as the world celebrates the birth of Christ and comes together with friends and family, he reminds them to remember three things – they have survived, things they’ve lost can be regained and to seek opportunities to be a blessing to others.
“The gap between what we have and what we wish we had, is wider and deeper at holiday time. Many people may not be dreaming of a white Christmas as much as hoping for a Christmas that isn’t blue,” said the founder of Ricardo Miller Children’s Ministries.
“‘There’s no place like home for the holidays promises a more universal experience of warmth and joy than reality serves up for many. It fuels and ignites longings that the grieving, the hurting and the hopeless wish they could pray away.”
He said having expectations of joy and fulfillment at the holidays (or any particular time, for that matter) is an invitation for a let-down.
“I believe that the most wholesome way to approach Christmas is to remember that each day is an adventure – an opportunity to learn and to feel and to love, to have compassion for one’s self and for others; and unpredictably, to experience magic.”
Despite what 2019 or even the past decade may have “thrown” at them, Miller says people have to remember they survived.
“Yes, you experienced some losses, but count your many wins – waking up this morning, that’s a win; having a sound mind is a win. You have a roof over your head, a car, food, clothes, good health – those are all wins. You survived what so many did not. Not only did you survive, but you gained experiential knowledge; applying that knowledge is wisdom. Wisdom is priceless.”
Miller, who also refers to himself as a life management coach, wants people to remember that things they lost can be regained.
“Sometimes, losses can be so devastating that it feels like you’ve lost it all – but where there is life, there is so much hope.”
Miller urges people to allow the beauty of this Yuletide season to renew their hope in God, life, humanity and themselves.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” – Proverbs 13:12
“When there is nothing to hold onto, cling to hope. When all is lost, let hope remain. Everything you’ve lost or missed can be regained if you have life.”
He also encouraged people to seek opportunities to be a blessing.
“With so many among us finding this time of year to be difficult, whether after losing a loved one or a job, or even the countless still displaced by [Hurricane] Dorian, this Christmas is not just another Christmas. Scores of Bahamians are broken, disheartened and lonely as others of us go about our day-to-day lives. This Christmas, in particular, serves as an opportunity to open your eyes and heart to those with a need you can serve. Then, readily and wholeheartedly, do so. Whether little or much, your giving and serving others goes a long way in renewing hope for others, and no ordinary Christmas for you.”
No matter where you find yourself this Christmas, the family life pastor’s advice to people is to allow the season to evoke or renew the beauty and hope of life.
And Miller will be doing his part to spread cheer and lift the spirits of children and families this weekend as the Ricardo Miller Children’s Ministries hosts its 6th Annual Christmas Giveaway on Saturday, December 21, on the grounds of Sunshine Auto, at the junction of Soldier Road and Abundant Life Road, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. He said families are encouraged to attend together and participate in the day of fun, which will include all the things children love, from bounce houses, to games and food.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.