“Where has Christ been born in Grenada’s experience of the pandemic?”
Bishop Clyde Harvey posed this question in his Christmas message to the diocese of St George’s, Grenada.
In it, he further questioned “Were you able to see the Christ child in the children around you sent home from school in March with no comfortable place to lay their heads?’, ‘Were you able to see in the self-sacrificing teachers, healthcare personnel and the generous leaders in every sector, the Good Shepherd, feeding the lambs and seeking out the lost sheep?’, ‘Were you able to see the Christ stripped of His garments and crowned with thorns in the many who were stripped of their jobs, their joblessness crowned by unemployment?”
Bishop Harvey acknowledged that many of the things we faced this Christmas are not usual to our Christmas experience.
“Some parishes had planned to reach out in a special way to those who are alone by inviting them to a shared Christmas meal. Our current infectious situation makes that not advisable,” he said.
More painful perhaps, Bishop Harvey added will be the acceptance of the absence of those who, though very much alive, cannot travel to join family this Christmas.
“…Yet our love for them remains and we learn the COVID challenge of how to experience and express our love, even when the touch or embrace are denied to us.”
In his message, Bishop Harvey said Mary’s response to the news of the conception of the child in her womb gives us the first clue for our response: ‘Let it be done to me’. To accept the reality of all that is happening around us and to affirm the truth of it is essential, he said.
“I have stated often enough that one of the great sins against our people at this time is to do anything which engenders mistrust and disunity.”
Our leaders, Bishop Harvey said, must understand that trust is not automatic.
“We must do all that is within our power to speak truth to our people and elicit trust as we seek to navigate the dangerous onslaught of this virus. What is being done to us cannot be undone. We share this fate with all humanity. Yet how we move through it depends on our unity, our truthfulness and our shared wisdom,” he said.
To this end, Bishop Harvey hoped this Christmas would always enable faithful to experience salvation, health and healing as they defeat this virus.
Christmas, the bishop said, is a time for gift-giving. Life, nature, has given the gift of COVID-19. “We have been unpacking that gift very slowly over the past nine months. It has been both blessing and disaster. How we continue to respond to it will be our gift to the Christ child this Christmas,” Bishop Harvey said.