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Christmas–An opportunity for true forgiveness

by Vernon Khelawan

This is not the season to bother about the childish games being played out in our Parliament. The ‘kicksin’ is not funny anymore, the ‘blame game’ continues unfettered and simply shows up more and more what passes for national politics in Trinidad and Tobago.

We will be more seasonal and talk about goodwill, peace, charity, respect, hope and all those other virtues which rear their heads at this time of the year. And while many of these virtues still proliferate in our society, there is one which seems very difficult when the high murder rate and other criminal activity is so prevalent and that is FORGIVENESS.

Christmas allows us the time to engage in true forgiveness of the many people, family and friends, our neighbourhood enemies and workplace dissenters who have wronged us in any way.

That is the goodwill and peace of the Christmas season. I am sure we can find it in our hearts to do that.

I am aware that with many people these days walking around wearing an angry look on their faces and drivers seething with road rage, it is difficult to discern good from bad. And so mending fences could prove to be a challenge. So with these odds, forgiveness can be very challenging.

In the present gloom and darkness, Christmas comes like a bright light shining through to bring some sort of relief to stress—attending the Christmas services at the local churches, visiting old friends, going to office and group parties, and sharing seasonal meals, although many of us, reacting to the current economic situation, will see these celebrations downsized.

As Christians we must free ourselves of the gloomy times and prepare ourselves for the light which will bring God’s presence and love. We must understand the occasion we are celebrating—the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Armed with this, we must celebrate with joyous expectation.

Just as Jesus was born in a humble stable in Bethlehem with animals to people who were burdened by oppression, so too, many of us are in similar situations, but the Lord’s glory will shine through and put us out of that gloom and doom. This reminds us of Isaiah: 9:1 which reads, “The people who walked in the darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwell in the land of gloom a light has shone.”

Pope Francis tells us in a recent speech: “Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival. Forgiveness is…the cleansing of the mind and the liberation of the heart. Whoever does not forgive does not have peace in the soul nor communion with God.”

Is this not what we celebrate at this time? Peace and goodwill to all men. Let us make this season meaningful. Yes! You can eat and drink to your heart’s content; you can parang all you want; you can attend church services as many times as you wish, but remember that forgiveness is paramount in your life.

Let us all try to make forgiveness our mantra, not only for this Christmas season, but incorporate that pledge as part of our New Year resolutions. And may we see God’s love in all we do.