By this time next week, Christmas Day will have passed. Many of us will have enjoyed a glorious time with family and friends, celebrating the birth of Christ, though the historical fact of that date remains in doubt. I, for one, trust that yours is a wonderful time of celebration, even if you do not yourself believe in the religious sentiments surrounding that day. I trust that you and your family will enjoy Christmas day in peace, pleasure and prosperity. This is my hope for every soul on the face of this earth.
I live in no delusion, however. Christmas Day will come with many facing great hardship. There are those among us who cannot find two nickels to rub together. There are some who face great pain and suffering due to illness, even terminal illness. There are yet others who are estranged from family and friends, living in the quiet desperation of aloneness. In many ways, The Bahamas is a paradise, but yet in other ways, it is everything but paradise for some. Socially, economically and spiritually too many people “live on a lonely island of poverty”, to borrow some words for the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My hope for these people is that some comfort, some joy, some better might come, either on that day or in the days to come.
I do not begrudge those who do not believe in the meaning of Christmas. I do not judge those who do not believe in the central figure of the Christmas message; no, not Santa Claus but Jesus Christ. That notwithstanding, I do pray that the joy and strength that comes from believing in the practices and teachings of Christ might permeate their lives and enrich the same. Each of us, whether we enjoy plenty or poverty, have need of meaning in life much deeper than the shallows of our material existence. We need a faith in something, or someone, far greater than ourselves. It helps us to shrug off the bitterness of painful experiences and embrace the beauty of a life of grace. So, no matter the circumstance any person may find him or herself in, I wish for them and you a very Merry Christmas!
• Zhivargo Laing is a Bahamian economic consultant and former Cabinet minister who represented the Marco City constituency in the House of Assembly.