Amidst hardships, we have a lot to be thankful for

Christmas is upon us. For many of us, it is time to take stock of our blessings, whisper a prayer of thanksgiving and reach out to appreciate those who have touched our lives in many different ways.

Starting tonight on Christmas Eve; there is no doubt that many of us will be spending quality time with people that matter the most. That includes our loved ones, children, parents, siblings and people who have made a tangible difference in our lives one way or another. 

The wonderful thing about Christmas is that even though some people don’t believe in the reason for the season, everybody has something to be thankful for.

While for Christians Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus our Lord and Saviour, it also allows people of every religion and philosophical outlook to take time from their busy lives to revel in the company of families and friends. 

Which is what it is all about. Christmas is about quality time, a moment to pause and acknowledge the divine work of the Almighty and his amazing plan for our lives.

Truth be told, it is hard to be cheerful amidst so much doom and gloom of this world. Almost everywhere you look, there is sadness, destruction and devastation. 

Poverty, struggles, hardships, violence and unemployment continue to be perennial challenges that refuse to go away. They stare at us in the face everyday, as if they’re telling us we haven’t really done anything to solve them.

In Samoa today, a surge in crime and violent offending is a real concern. The government’s inability to keep prisoners where they belong is certainly alarming. 

The attack on an innocent woman at Ululoloa and her children a few days ago was not warranted. It is shameful and it’s another black mark on the government after all the hoopla with 60 Minutes where this nation’s leader assured the world that things would get better.

 What will it take for things to change? Are they waiting for these prisoners to kill someone? Have not innocent members of the public suffered enough? When will it end?

Elsewhere there are real concerns about the governance of this nation today. The leadership seems quite intent on controlling people’s basic freedoms – including the media. It has flatly refused to live up to its mantra of transparency, accountability and good governance. How else can one explain its refusal to give a basic account of simple things like what taxpayer monies are being spent on? 

Speaking of accountability and transparency, another year has come and gone in Parliament. Where are the audited reports that the Controller and Chief Auditor Fuimaono Camillo Afele had submitted to Parliament? Not a word was said last week. 

What’s going on here? What’s the point of having reports if members of the public who paid for them do know what is happening?  

We can go on but we will stop here for now.

Tomorrow is Christmas. 

Let’s think about new beginnings, hope and freedom.

The birth of Jesus Christ is all about new beginnings and hope. God brought hope to a world that was lost and destined for eternal damnation through his son. This is why he is the reason for the season, not the gifts, or all the other stuff we do as part of merry-making.

Today, let’s remember that Jesus Christ is the hope of all. Jesus is hope to the person who is out of work, to the family with no money, the businessman and woman who are struggling to get by and everyone out there experiencing difficulties. 

If you are going through sickness, Jesus is your healer. Jesus breaks bondages if you are depressed. He can be your friend if you are lonely. If you are feeling weak, ask him to make you strong. If you are poor, ask him how he can turn your fortunes around. If you feel guilty about something you have done, confess and he is faithful to forgive you. 

Folks, that’s the reason for the season. Jesus is no longer a baby. Don’t be fooled, we are not celebrating the mere birth of a baby. We should be rejoicing in a triumphant Saviour who came, paid our sins through his blood, conquered death and rose again so that every one has hope.

Today, he is only a prayer away. 

As a nation of Christians, we believe Jesus hears our cries and he answers our prayers. He listens. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, meaning if he promised to help, he will.

So let’s not be discouraged today. Hope is not lost.

Today, let’s rejoice. Little or much, we have a lot to be grateful for.

Merry Christmas Samoa, God bless!

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