Good morning and Merry Christmas to you and your family from Rochelle and I, our family and from the One Bermuda Alliance.
I’m sure you’ll agree that 2020 has been a year filled with unprecedented change. While we began the year with the presumption of living our lives in the normal manner; the world was suddenly plunged into a global pandemic – the coronavirus.
We sheltered in place, worked remotely in Teams, Zoomed into meetings, studied and worshipped online, bought groceries on designated shopping days and spent more time with our families. Throughout riots and global demonstrations of civil unrest, our new reality now includes social distancing, washing our hands with increasing regularity and the mandatory wearing of masks in public places.
Many lives were even more impacted because of the pandemic, through the loss of jobs or more importantly, loved ones. On this 21 square mile island, we are literally our brother’s keeper. We are connected to each other as a people, as neighbours; as friends or as family. If someone in St. David’s has been affected, we will hear about it in Sandys’ within minutes, even seconds. For those who have suffered loss, please know that we share in your grief and anguish and we sincerely offer you our heartfelt prayers on this day in particular. As fellow Bermudians, we will do our best to support you in the days and months ahead.
In this time of unprecedented disruption and upheaval, I urge you to hold onto and treasure those shared experiences that we all value and are within our control; like maintaining our time-honored Christmas traditions. In our home, we paint rooms that need refreshing and put up our tree and decorations. On Christmas day, we will enjoy the delicious scent of turkey and cassava pie roasting in the oven; and recount the stories of the Christmas’ gone by. We will smile as we recall the cherished memories of loved ones who are no longer with us and we will share with those who are less fortunate. That is Christmas to me.
On the first Christmas day some 2000 years ago, the world experienced a seismic change through the birth of Jesus Christ. This tiny baby came wrapped in humility to share his gift of love, joy and peace with a world that was not expecting him, but which desperately needed him. For those who accept Jesus, the trajectory of their lives will forever be changed for the best. He is the reason we can celebrate Christmas and have hope for the future. What an amazing and eternal gift.
I have no doubt that 2021 will continue to bring us more challenges and changes, but I am confident that as a country, we will successfully make our way through it if we accept that true spirit of Christmas; and show respect and patience towards one another and love and care for our family and friends, both today and in the years to come. Merry Christmas!
The Hon. N.H. Cole Simons JP MP