p>As St. Maarten joins the rest of the world in observing Christmas 2017, it shouldn’t be a time of celebration but more so of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for surviving the ravages of Hurricane Irma, thanksgiving that despite the destruction and havoc wreaked on our homeland—be it by birth or by choice—we are here. We are here and ready to rebuild, ready to forgive, and ready to assist in every way we can, stronger than ever moving forward.
In the spirit of Christmas, it behooves us to assist our neighbours, to give food, clothing, money, time, labour, material and above all else love and understanding to those worst affected than we are. In the spirit of Christmas let us remember the true meaning of the birth of Christ. While many will argue that Christmas has become commercialized we can choose not to make it so and instead to follow the examples that have been set by Christ. This Christmas in the wake of Hurricane Irma many find themselves jobless, homeless, without food or money let alone Christmas presents. It is everyone’s duty as we observe this special time of year to remember the families that may be separated this Christmas but are in dire need of help from each of us.
There have been many organizations that have stepped up to the plate and donated food, materials to rebuild, clothing, shelter, labour, money and time, but they cannot help everyone. We each must do our part this Christmas. Ask yourself, “How can I help my neighbours and fellow citizens who are jobless, homeless, without food or money this Christmas?” Many on this island are able to live in beautiful homes inherited from loved ones and or family. Many of those homes were built with assistance from neighbours in the forms of jollifications, some neighbours cooking and others bringing drinks but together we worked on each other homes. This Christmas, I urge you to love thy neighbour as you love yourself and extend the much-needed assistance to those worst impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
On behalf of my family and I, we want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.