Merry Christmas, Samoa!
Time flies and in a year filled with drama, tragedy, sadness and uncertainty; Christmas could not have arrived at a better time. Every one needs a breather and time to recuperate.
Aside from gifts, celebrations and everything the festive season entails, the message of Christmas is essentially that of hope, when God’s plan to redeem a fallen world through the birth of his son, Jesus Christ, was unveiled.
That was a long time ago and thousands of years later today, what does it mean? And how can we draw inspiration from the events at Bethlehem then?
Now these are some meaningful questions to ask ourselves as a nation of predominantly Christians, a day away from Christmas. But before we offer our humble view, from the Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, Editors and all our team, we want to offer our well wishes for the season and say merry Christmas to you all.
We say Merry Christmas to all the Church leaders, the Head of State, His Highness, Tuimaleali’ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II, Member of the Council of Deputies, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, former Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Cabinet Ministers, Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Tole'afoa Fa’afisi and Members of Parliament.
We extend our Christmas wishes to the Chief Justice Satiu Simative Perese, President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepuleai Attila Ropati, Justices and Judges of the Courts, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Heads of Government Bodies and leaders of the Business Community. We do not forget the tapuaiga a Aiga ma latou Tama, Tama ma Aiga, Usoga o Pule ma Tumua, Ituaau ma Alataua, Aiga i le Tai ma le Va’a Fonoti.
We can never forget the support of all our advertisers in Samoa and abroad, our business partners who help us in different ways, especially you, our dear readers. We trust you will have yourself wonderful Christmas and that you find some time to relax and reflect on what has been an eventful year.
Looking back to the past 12 months, it has been challenging. This time last year, our nation was struggling with the measles crisis, one of the worst crises to have hit this country in terms of fatalities. We cannot forget those precious 83 lives lost, today we remember them and their families, many of them will still be coming to terms with their losses almost a year later.
But just when the measles epidemic waned, a pandemic in the form of COVID19 arrived. For the past ten months, the pages of this newspaper, as well as our online platforms, have been filled with stories and photos of the impact this has had on our nation. We are grateful, however, that as we sit down to celebrate Christmas this year, we know from what the Government is telling us that our country is coronavirus-free.
We cannot say the same thing about nations near and far who have lost millions of lives to this tragedy. We remember them and we continue to hope that Samoa will continue to be shielded from the pandemic.
Aside from COVID and its impact, especially on businesses and the tourism industry, there were many monumental developments on the economic, and social and political landscape. The General Election next year has generated a lot of interest.
Today, however, we do not want to talk politics. What we do want to talk about is hope and the message of Christmas. How can the birth of Jesus reinvigorate and regenerate? What is the relevance of what transpired in Bethlehem so many years ago to the struggles, suffering and pain of today?
The answer in our humble opinion is quite simple. The message of Christmas becomes irrelevant, and the hope it brings means nothing, unless we view it from the lens of faith. As a nation of Christians, the scriptures tell us that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
So how does this apply today? Even though what we see with our human eyes, and know through our human intelligence do not appear promising, we have got believe there is still hope. God’s plan for hope came through Jesus Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.
The same scriptures remind us to “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified … for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”
This is the hope of Christmas through the lens of faith. How does it apply to you and me? Whatever it is that you may be going through, whether its business struggles, governance challenges, financial lack, family fights, or whatever, do not be discouraged. Look up, never give up and trust the hope that is Jesus Christ.
Have a very merry Christ Samoa, God bless!