Lest we forget, Christmas is celebrated by Christians throughout the world as the day a baby boy was born in a stable in an insignificant country occupied by a foreign force more than 2 000 years ago.

The odds that he would be remembered beyond his lifetime couldn’t have been worse. Yet the message of hope proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth has resonated through the ages. He came, he said, to bring good news to the poor, give sight to the blind, bind up the broken-hearted and set the prisoners free.

The example he set and the values he preached are in accord with those of all the major religions of the world and so for people of all faiths, this is a time to re-evaluate our lives against the blueprint he left for us.

Let us remind ourselves that right here in the Overstrand, there are children who go to bed hungry every night, there are old people who have been discarded on the rubbish dump of life and there are many who have been denied the dignity of decent jobs. They are the responsibility of this community; we dare not turn a blind eye to their predicament.

Even the poorest of us has something of value to offer. By sharing what we have, the whole town will benefit. Each one of us can make a contribution towards sustaining both the people and the environment of the Overstrand. And let us not forget how privileged we are to live in, or indeed, to visit this beautiful place.

Many are feeling depressed about the socio-economic and political situation in South Africa as this year ends, but the good news is that we are a resilient, resourceful and compassionate people who can laugh at ourselves and ‘make a plan’, even in the darkest of days.

As we stand together, candles in hand, at this special time of the year our hope is for better times ahead where strangers become friends and we pull together for a stronger community.

So, this is Christmas. Rejoice and be glad in it, for it brings good tidings of great joy to all the world.

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