Gift of God through the family
Christmas Message from The Most Rev. Dr Charles Jason Gordon, Bishop of Bridgetown, of the Roman Castholic Church.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, May God bless you, your family, and every family in Barbados during this beautiful season of Christmas. May you experience the gift that God showers on you through your family. They are His most precious gift to you.
God’s love is expressed not primarily in words, but through the gift of Himself. That gift is Jesus Christ who came as a baby born in Bethlehem.
And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
–– John 1:14.
This gift of God is salvation for He came “that every one who believes may have eternal life in Him”. (John 3:16.)
God’s creation of the human and His redemption of the human is in and through a family. God is family –– a trinity of persons. Jesus Christ was born to a family –– the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Family is the school of love; it is also the way God has chosen to act in bringing salvation to the world. The family is integral to God’s plan and to what God continues to do to transform our world.
I invite you to see Christmas as a gift of loving mercy from God in and through a family. God gives himself to Mary and Joseph, as love, and through them to all the world. The word of God says: “God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God.” We are invited to encounter the gift of love this Christmas season, not in the abstract, but in and through our families.The Christmas manger that we contemplate each
year points us to this. Salvation or development cannot come to the nation as a whole, unless it first comes through the family.
It is in that light that in my message for our 49th year of Independence I stressed the need for us to see the family as prior to the state in existence and in rights. I did this by challenging us to revisit our understanding of the word economy.
“In its original understanding economy was about managing the affairs of the family. Its focus was on ensuring the development of families –– the nation being a family of families.”
Yes, Christmas is about the loving mercy of God revealed in the family. It is in the family that God wants us to experience and enjoy true development. For this to happen, we need, as a people to make hard decisions about:
Putting the family first over and above the state.
The model of the economy –– development of the household first, as opposed to fiscal development through the accumulation of wealth.
Choosing character and values first as opposed to choosing to satisfy my wants and emotions and desires.
To receive the Gift of Christ this Christmas requires receiving also His plan of salvation. This plan is centred on a family. This Christmas give your family a gift, a gift of forgiveness, a gift of time and commitment and a gift of love. If you put your family as priority in your life, it will be the best gift you could give to them and to Barbados.
This is a jubilee year of mercy given to us by Pope Francis. I encourage you as a family to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to do the work of forgiveness in your family and to find a way to reach out to a family that is in need, and involve the whole family in this.
Please have a Family Christmas this year as you experience the loving mercy of the heart of our God.
A blessed and peaceful Christmas to you and your loved ones!