President reflects on those facing tough times, Christmas not merry for some

Pres­i­dent Paula-Mae Weekes has cho­sen to high­light the many peo­ple in the coun­try who will find it im­pos­si­ble to ex­pe­ri­ence the "mer­ry" in Christ­mas this year.

In her Christ­mas mes­sage yes­ter­day, Weekes said, "Res­i­dents of Green­vale, for­mer Petrotrin or TSTT em­ploy­ees, par­ents of a miss­ing child, the wife of a mur­der vic­tim and sundry oth­ers may just not be feel­ing it.

What should be a time of hope, peace, love and joy is rather a pe­ri­od of sad­ness, frus­tra­tion and de­spair for them.

For me to smile bright­ly and wish them Mer­ry Christ­mas might be to add salt to a fes­ter­ing wound," she said.

"The peace­ful Christ­mas tableau with its nu­clear fam­i­ly, an­gels bear­ing good tid­ings and the Ma­gi may seem very re­mote and ir­rel­e­vant when fam­i­ly life is un­der siege, good news as scarce as hen’s teeth, and worse yet there is not a wise man in sight."

How­ev­er, she added that in T&T there are mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties dur­ing the year to re­flect on val­ues that are com­mon to all good men and women and Christ­mas is one such pe­ri­od.

"Christ­mas­tide is first and fore­most a sea­son of hope. The hope of Chris­tians is the pow­er and free­dom to live con­fi­dent­ly in the present trust­ing that the fu­ture is preg­nant with pos­si­bil­i­ty while await­ing Christ's sec­ond Ad­vent which will re­new all things and ful­fil God's pur­pose for the world," the Pres­i­dent said.

Not­ing that the sea­son has be­come syn­ony­mous with gift-giv­ing, she sug­gest­ed a Christ­mas gift reg­istry of a lis­ten­ing ear, your time and at­ten­tion, em­pa­thy, en­cour­age­ment, good man­ners, op­ti­mism, in­tro­spec­tion, re­spect for oth­ers, self-re­straint and the na­tion­al gifts of dis­ci­pline, pro­duc­tion and tol­er­ance.

She said: "Peace for the Chris­t­ian is more than the ab­sence of war or con­flict; it is whole­ness, well­be­ing, pros­per­i­ty and safe­ty which come from One Source, God, re­sides in one place, our heart, and is nur­tured in one space, covenant re­la­tion­ship with God which pro­vides a steady stream that nour­ish­es the soul and flows out­ward to oth­ers.

"Chris­tians, do not, how­ev­er, have a mo­nop­oly on peace. Peo­ple in­ter­pret peace dif­fer­ent­ly – but what is agreed is that it tran­scends un­der­stand­ing and comes from with­in, it is a state of con­tent­ment, se­cu­ri­ty and tran­quil­li­ty which re­mains un­af­fect­ed even while we are be­ing buf­fet­ed by the vi­cis­si­tudes of life."

She added, "We all know some­one, who in the face of the most se­vere hard­ship, main­tains a cheer­ful and calm dis­po­si­tion; not be­cause they are in de­nial but be­cause they are at peace with them­selves and the world. When one is at peace, there is an ir­re­sistible im­pulse to spread that bless­ing to oth­ers.

Blessed are the peace­mak­ers, for they will be called chil­dren of God. Let us ac­tive­ly pur­sue peace and make it an in­te­gral part of our lives."

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