Minister of Education Christmas Message

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - "An Angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:9-11)

The time is drawing near when books will be closed and hearts and thoughts turned toward home. Like the shepherds of old who journeyed to the manger marked by the star, many of you will travel to a place where a special star hangs over your home, a joyous place, a place where love and confidence increase with the years.

The real meaning of Christmas comes to those who have taken Christ into their lives as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force. The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master. It is a desire to sacrifice for others, to render service and to possess a feeling of universal brotherhood. It consists of a willingness to forget what you have done for others, and to remember what others have done for you.

Some of us are not as fortunate as others to have our families with us, or the finances we believe are necessary to make Christmas special, and therefore Christmas may be a sad or depressing time for you, but I believe that the powerful joy that is Christmas can cheer even the loneliest, saddest or stressed out heart. Everybody needs somebody, so it is up to us, you and me, who feel the love of Jesus and the joy and hope the celebration of his coming brings, to share it with others who need it the most.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Not just my favorite holiday, mind you, but my favorite time of year, period. It's definitely not because of the presents, although I do love giving gifts to family and those in need and seeing the joy on their faces; and receiving them isn't bad either. There's just something about the season, the time of year, and the atmosphere that makes Christmas my all-time favorite. It is about family, relationships and coming together as one. It is one of the reasons, that we organized one evening of Serenading last Sunday, another tradition which can be translated into our modern times and enjoyed with as much relish.

Christmas traditions are powerful for a family. For one thing, they bring families closer together. By nature, traditions take time and commitment. This time together helps you make new memories while also remembering the past. Traditions remind us to stop the busy cycle of life long enough to reconnect and build bonds.

It allows the family to reminisce together, sharing stories from ‘back in the day’, laughing at how the times have changed from then to now; the young laughing at the ‘old’; and the ‘experienced’ shaking their heads at the antics of the younger generations with a secret, knowing smile.

It is therefore imperative and I encourage all on St. Maarten and abroad that we take every opportunity to bond with our families and make the most of our relationships. Christmas, no doubt, provides us with the best opportunity for bonding, sharing and loving with our families and the extended community.

In closing, the key here is not to get too involved in planning the feast and the party, but to give yourself a break and to spend maximum time with your loved ones. A Christmas filled with love is the best kind of Christmas and once you have had a good one, you will make it a point to enjoy every future Christmas with those dear to you.

May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow.
Wishing you lots of love, joy and happiness. Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, God bless.

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