"I am of the view that God, through Maria, may be talking to us"
Christmas Message 2017 from Thomas Letang, General Secretary, Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU)
To many of you Christmas celebration this year will not be observed with the usual festive activities. For many, the lingering effect of hurricane Maria will no doubt be present during Christmas and much beyond that. Notwithstanding the trauma of Maria, however, we should always find time to acknowledge the mercy and grace and multiple blessings of Jesus Christ our Saviour who was born and who died to save mankind.
Indeed, amidst the trials, frustration and difficulties which were inflicted by Maria we must be challenged to reflect on the many positive things which we have experienced – a kind comforting word from a friend; a helping hand from a stranger. Had it not been for the mercies of God we would surely be much worse off than we are.
I am of the view that God, through Maria, may be talking to us; telling us that as a nation we need to ponder on our ways. We need to seriously consider involving God in making our decisions. We need to remind ourselves of the days when we were our brother's keeper. Sadly, gone are the days when every resident was touched by the pain and suffering of a neighbour. Then, because of our closeness to the Creator we were cautious as to how we addressed or spoke to each other. Respect for our elders was the norm in every community. Then, those in authority demonstrated humility.
Today it appears that we live with what can be described as a remote semblance of the good old days. We have by no means lived perfectly in the past. There were issues of selfishness and discontent to contend with. But it certainly cannot be disputed that there were more abundant, spontaneous acts of loving, caring and sharing with each other.
The post Maria period presents us with an opportunity to work towards returning to a united people; a united nation embracing the prospect of making Dominica a more climate resilient country. An opportunity to extend that resilience to our capacity as human beings to be better people given to kindness and humility.
We can rebuild effectively and successfully only after we have taken time to review our weaknesses and failures and endeavoured to correct them. Such success demands humility, repentance and reconciliation. Reflection on good Christian behavioiur is too often seasonal. No sooner are Christmas, Easter and Independence Day celebrations over we return to our old uncompassionate, unpatriotic ways.
Let us bring together the Maria experience and the divine teachings of Christ so as to permanently establish in our daily lives ways that are pleasing to God; ways that are consistent with His teachings.
May we receive additional blessings this Christmas, and may the New Year bring peace, happiness, prosperity and the resolve to be better citizens of our beloved nation, dedicated to creating a positively resilient Dominica.
I extend these warm sentiments to you on behalf of the Executive, staff and members of the DPSU.