Thoughts for the Yuletide
The Advent season offered its usual mix of joy and sorrow. Many acts of kindness highlighted by this newspaper and other media reaffirmed our faith that there still exist among us human beings who have good hearts.
At the same time, even as we continue to commemorate the message of hope in the birth of the Christ child, we ask our readers to spare a thought for our fellow human beings who are experiencing pain at the loss or illness of loved ones; the trauma of being displaced by war; or who are destitute and desperately in need of aid.
As the world continues to be rocked by armed conflict that appear to have no end in sight, the international community has, for the past two months, been focused on the Gaza/Israel war which started after an unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 left approximately 1,140 people dead in Israel, most of them civilians.
The Palestinian militants also abducted about 250 people, 129 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza.
Israel retaliated with a sustained bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza that has killed more than 20,400 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
A lot of attention is also still being given to the unprovoked war in Ukraine which has claimed tens of thousands of lives since Russia invaded its neighbour in February 2022.
There are, though, other conflict zones across the globe that — while not receiving similar levels of scrutiny — are resulting in loss of lives. On Christmas Day we received word of one such tragedy in Nigeria, where armed groups killed at least 160 people in a series of attacks on at least 20 villages last Saturday.
Here in Jamaica, we have experienced horrific crimes that have left many families hurting, and some may, understandably, question their faith. However, for all the sorrows that we bear, we hope that this season will offer a soother, even if only temporarily.
At the same time, we accept that there are those who may not have had what they consider the ideal holiday. To them, we say, rethink your priorities: Thank your God for what you have and continue to pray and work to achieve what you need.
As for the many who are blessed with the physical and mental capacities that allow them to enjoy the Yuletide season, we say think of the many less fortunate who can’t do the same. There are many things you can do to enhance someone else’s day.
To those who are facing the loss of their jobs, we say: Calm down and refocus on a new plan.
To those who feel secure in their employment, we say: Don’t get complacent, stay alert because much can go wrong in an increasingly complex world.
Still, the more important issue for consideration must be the appropriate balance to be struck between the well-being of our collective spirit as a nation facing enormous challenges — despite significant social and economic achievements over many years — and the employment of the resources that are available to us.
On that score, there is much to be derived by way of instruction from the spirit that this season represents, namely peace and goodwill to all.