By Edward Harris

As I write this article, today, Sunday, 14th December, 2003 marks a special milestone in my life. It has been a long road characterized by many valleys, hills and mountains. Through it all, God has blessed me and I seek to be a blessing to others.

My grandmother instilled in me from my early years many sayings that have guided me throughout my life.
   1) Ingratitude is worst than witchcraft.
   2) Manners maketh man.
   3) Honesty is the best policy.
   4) Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you.
Then I had to commit to memory the Ten Commandments. She guided me in the fear of the Lord. In adhering to those principles, I have the confidence that whatever happens in my life, it is the will of God. Life has been challenging, but there have been many moments of glory.

During my short life, in spite I am older than many, I have seen many things, some I thought would have never been possible but God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. There is no power on earth greater than that of God’s. Nothing good happens without God. That’s a truth. God’s gifts are sustainable. It is important for you to know the source of your gifts. Is it good or evil? There are two forces at work – do not be deceived. Don’t envy anyone – seek out your source from God.

As we approach the season of goodwill, it is necessary for us to take a long, hard look at how far we have traveled and what has been our impact upon others. If we are called to lead, are we leading in the best interest of our followers? It is important to note that while we are strong collectively and many are at least taken by consensus, the decision of one man could change the world. At the leadership level, in the final analysis, it is the leader’s decision to be or not to be that is carried forward. If the leader fails to lead he will be led. If we are called to be followers, let us be the best we can as one day, it could well be our time to lead. Let respect and goodwill be our watchwords. My guiding principle has always been, whether I am leading or following to act with love for my fellowmen. Empathy is my watchword.

This is the time of year when everyone is sharing the joy of Christmas freely, extending a handshake, even wishing Happy Holidays to strangers, all in the festive spirit. We remember those dear ones with whom we do not come into regular contact and send a Greeting Card and in some instances the card is accompanied by a gift. Oh how great a feeling everyone has at Christmas. It is a time for remembering, sharing and caring. It is the jolliest time of the year. What fun it is to be alive at Christmas. The spirit of love pervades the atmosphere.

Gifts are showered upon everyone, parties are swinging everywhere. There is great joy among Christians and peoples everywhere. Christmas is a time when the world gets together to celebrate with the exchange of greetings and gifts. I wish everyday will be like Christmas when peace and goodwill are evident everywhere.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is Silver Bells. Is you haven’t awakened to the fact – it is Christmas time in the city. It is my sincere hope that you have taken time off to remember the poor in your community. Christmas is not only a time to remember family and friends but it is also a time to remember the less fortunate in our midst. If you have no established means of getting your gifts to the poor, try the Salvation Army on High Street, Castries. Captain Winston Brown and his team of soldiers will be pleased to assist you in fulfilling you wish to reach out to the poor. Help is just a phone call away, Tel. 452 – 3108.

Christmas shopping is picking up and is expected to be in full swing from this weekend right down to the wire on Christmas Eve. I must confess that the Christmas of today is not what it used to be. In times past Christmas was fun as people did things together, children and adults went caroling in groups, house to house and the joy that came from hustle and bustle to get everything in order for Christmas morning. Where have all the flowers gone? I feel good about spending my youth when technology was just evolving and coal pot was the principal means of cooking a meal. Some people argue that the food had a better taste. Technology and modern day life style have changed the way we relate to each other. As a result, we the older folks see Christmas as an opportunity to get back in time and thank God for the good old days and share with our children and grand children, the times that were the good old days. The times when we made our own toys, wash out the salt from the butter and beat in the sugar to make Christmas cake, so many exciting things. Memories! Memories! So rich! Do you ever stop and think what a privilege it was and thank God for his gifts.

It is my sincere wish that you have a Merry Xmas and I will be back next week to give you my wishes for 2004.

Keep the Faith!!!

December 17/12/03