Robbing the innocents of Christmas

Barbara Gloudon

Friday, December 15, 2017

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In the words of some of the older folks, the Christmas breeze soon start to blow. In the spirit of tradition, the customs of celebrating the birth of the Christ child will be marked by events recorded in religious history — and some in arguments and dissension on religious grounds.

There have been the occasions when there have been bitter arguments as to whether the Christmas story was of any truth at all. Some people wish to have nothing to do with it, while another group seeks refuge in Biblical defence. This year, I haven't heard as much religious defence and offence as one time. Maybe because this season we are in pain, felt because of the suffering of children more than we have experienced in all memory.

We speak of the evil attacks imposed on our children on whom has been inflicted pain and suffering and early death, depriving them of the joy. This used to be unheard of in the past, especially in the celebration of Christmas. Where has the evil come from? Who gave anyone the right to deprive children and parents of celebrating the story of the Christ child — its meaning and its promise of children growing through time. Who has any right to abuse children; to hurt them, to destroy their early years and, in the process, rob them of the happiness of Christmas.

This year has not been the best for our nation. It has been particularly bad, as many have been robbed of life because of the evildoers who made hell for people of all ages. We have known bad times over the years. Why has this stretch been so filled with violence, from urban to rural, from men to women to children? Why has this year brought us so much pain, so much betrayal of children and adults?

The nation is deeply disturbed by the outburst of crime which has brought fear and distress from one end of the island to the next. What is to be done? When will peace and safety be returned to communities which are in deep pain at the moment?

We have witnessed an alarming increase in the number of children being killed. Right Rev Robert Thompson, Anglican Suffragan Bishop of Kingston, reminds us that: “The killing of the innocent children was terrible in the time of King Herod. Our children are a mirror image of God's kingdom,” the Bishop said. The rest of the Christmas story depends on you and me; that we join the coalition of voices to do whatever it takes to demonstrate that 'enough is enough'! Therefore, let us commit ourselves to breaking our silence and take care of the innocents — our children — in need.

The bishop was particularly disturbed by the image of a two-year-old who had been shot in his head at point-blank range by a gunman after his injured father left him at the gate while trying to escape. This will, no doubt, remain a dramatic symbol of society's complicity with the murder of the innocent.

For those of us in the Christian tradition, it is suggested that the Christmas story means that God is still expecting goodness to become incarnate in our communities and is waiting on us to be the instruments that will make the difference.

The blood of the innocent demands nothing less. But even if you are not a Christian, or don't subscribe to the Christmas story, certainly we should take heed of Bishop Thompson's call to “join the coalition of voices to do whatever it takes to demonstrate that 'enough is enough' and make a difference”.

Thank you to the institutions and individuals who have joined with others to take the time to care for families in need of assistance and, in so doing, bring meaning to what is called the “Spirit of Christmas”!

There continues to be concern about children in some of our communities who need love and care. It is to be hoped that they will be taken care of in the spirit of this Christmas season.

With a new year not too far away, we need as a people to draw nearer, to work together with the objective of healing the nation. Above all, attention must be paid to the children and families. We must look to a future in which we must give of our best, from young to old, to come together to save our people, to hear the call of the Divine to commit ourselves to the call of God. Will we obey the call?

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@yahoo.com.

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