It is in the midst of all the various circumstances of life that Jesus was born; when people went about their daily tasks, routines, jobs, responsibilities and business affairs. In all the hum and drum of life, in the heart of human history, and seemingly unnoticed, Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son, Jesus the Son of God, our Saviour and redeemer. Emmanuel God is with us.

1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.

2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

3 All went to their own towns to be registered.

4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.

5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.

6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Matthew  2:1-7)

The past year has been a challenging one, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect us across the diocese and worldwide. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the explosive eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano has also had its toll on our lives as a people and a nation, along with all the other challenges of life.

Let us not forget those who have been working assiduously to manage the spread of the  COVID-19 virus, our respective Governments, Ministries of  Health and frontline workers as well, through the pandemic. We commiserate with those who have lost loved ones. The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be a challenge for the uptake has been quite slow. There are the vaccinated, the unvaccinated, and the anti-vaxxers. There is great fear among some of the unvaccinated, whether  we conceive it to be reasonable or not it is real. Neither can we forget those who were mostly affected by the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano as efforts to assist them to rebuild their lives and livelihood continue.

In this season of peace and goodwill brought to us through the birth of the Christ child, may we seek to build and strengthen relationships through loving and caring for the wellbeing of each other, mutual respect and dialogue, as we continue to encourage each other to adhere to the protocols- wearing of face mask, washing of hands, sanitizing, physical distancing, avoiding large crowds, making maximum use of ventilated spaces and vaccinating as we seek to minimize the spread of the virus and to address all the other trying circumstances of our lives.

Christmas reminds us that it is in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of life, pandemics, volcanic eruptions, divisions, the joys and the sorrows, the good times and the bad times that  Christ comes, bringing us peace and goodwill.  As the Christmas carol states:

Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King”
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem

Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King”

I take this opportunity on behalf of my wife Lois and three daughters, Marcella, Malaika and Mikayla to wish you all a Blessed and Holy Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Your friend and Bishop

The Rt. Rev’d C. Leopold Friday
Bishop of the Windward Islands