The reason for the season

With Christmas just days away, many Bahamians are looking forward to opening gifts from loved ones, enjoying a Christmas feast, and spending time with family and friends.

The Yuletide season brings families together like no other holiday. It’s also a time to reflect on the reason for the season, according to President of Great Commission Ministries (GCM) Bishop Walter Hanchell.

Hanchell, who has been feeding the poor and providing shelter for the homeless for over three decades, said this is the season of giving.

“Christmastime is a season of loving because you cannot love without giving,” he said yesterday.

“Things come out of loving and I believe that our people, our fine Bahamian people, need to continue to show love intentionally to our fellow brothers and sisters.

“These are very difficult times and many people are frustrated, angry, depressed, oppressed. You look at somebody and you don’t know what they’re going through.

“So many people are crying on the inside. I believe this is a good time this Christmas season for us to reflect on how we can make life better for somebody. You can’t help everybody but you could help one person, you can help somebody.

“So, I encourage my fellow Bahamians to reach out to somebody who is in need, somebody who may be unemployed, somebody who don’t know where their meal is coming from, don’t know where they’re going to lay their head – reach out to those people personal because everybody has a story and everyone’s story is different from someone else.

“This is the time for us to show care.”

And with rising inflation, more people are likely struggling to make ends meet this year.

People whose homes are usually beautifully lit during the Yuletide season have had to forgo that tradition this year because they simply can’t spare the expense. For them, this Christmas season will be far from jolly.

The prospect of giving more during a season, which already calls for increased spending, may seem daunting, if not impossible, for some.

Can you afford it, and your gifts, and your dinners? These are some of the questions you may ask yourself. But the answer is simple, according to Hanchell: yes, you can. You may not be able to give cash or food, or even clothes, but your time is just as important.

“The cost of living is so high, people don’t know what to do,” he said.

“Some people can’t afford to buy food the way they used to at Christmastime.

“I’m an optimist. I believe things will get better. I believe things will turn around for God’s people.”

Dig a little deeper

There is no shortage of ways to give back this holiday season. Several charitable organizations, like the Salvation Army, go the extra mile during the Christmas season.

But if you’re looking for a more personal touch, consider providing dinner for a family in need, or purchasing gifts or food items.

There is no shortage of people who can use an extra helping hand.

So, in this season of giving, choose to give.

Hanchell, who celebrated his 35th year in ministry last month, said he’s focused on building a facility for the homeless.

“We continue to do what God has called us to do,” he said.

“The homeless population continues to grow. We get calls every day from homeless mothers and some fathers seeking shelter, seeking relief, and we do what we could. We do the best we can.”

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