BVI News

COMMENTARY: Life, Death, and Christmas

By Dickson Igwe, Contributor

OK. Life, death and Christmas are interwoven themes. And the songwriter states that: “Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year”. And it certainly is.

One can literally smell when Christmas is in the air. Christmas and New Years are magical times. A year ends, and there is the scent of pine fir, cooler nights, and decorated and lighted storefronts. In the Virgin Islands, It gets dark by 6 pm. The days are breezy, the evenings simply majestic.

Suddenly, there is greater goodwill between normally quarrelsome neighbours, and a nightingale sings in London’s Berkeley Square. There is a magical quality about the second half of December.

And even before the advent of Christ, over two thousand years past, in the barbaric and freezing forests of Northern Europe, there were celebrations, by various peoples like the Norse, who instinctively felt December to be a 2 special time.

Yule celebration

For the Norse, it was a time of new beginnings, of new joy, of great expectancy. In Scandinavia, there was the celebration of Yule starting December 21.

And Yule was one long feast. Even in Germany, there were celebrations to pagan Gods at December, especially the god Ogden. These celebrations are analogies to today’s consumer-oriented feasting during the month of December.

Frosty evenings

In the Northern latitudes, at this time of the year, it is a time of snowmen, cold frosty evenings, white Christmases, and families sitting down to turkey, ham, roast beef and Christmas pudding. Chestnuts roast on an open fire. Christmas is a time of celebration. The worst of the winter season is over.

There is a natural expectancy. There are better times ahead. The season is a time for New Year resolution, spring is in the air. Andy Williams sang, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year with kids jingle belling and everyone telling you, to be in good cheer.”


At Christmas time, the same feelings of wonder and merriment are had in the tropics. At home in the Caribbean, it is still the most wonderful time of the year. It is a time of Calypso and steel pan, carolling on a breezy hillside with rustling palm fronds and swaying palm trees adding to the magic. Families get together, there is increased religious activity. Christmas is pantomime; Christmas is shopping; Christmas is partying; and general merriment.

The retail trade especially views Christmas-time as its most important season. It is the time the Wal-marts, and K-marts, and Macys of this world earn the majority of their profits.

The greatest percentage of revenues and profits are made in December by retailers in Road Town. Global GDP increases at the tail end of December, more than at any other time of the year, and so do credit sales. Christmas is the most important time for the capitalist creed of unlimited consumerism.

Wonderful time of year

A writer asserted that Santa Claus, the pseudonym for the 4th century Saint Nicholas, transplanted to Lapland, and flying across the globe 3 each year. shimmying down chimneys that no longer work, stuffing stockings that no one wears.

Still Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. However, all of this activity negates the true meaning of Christmas for the Christian believer: the defeat of death. Christmas is also a time of reflection: what will the new year bring? And loved ones who have passed on come to mind. Death is still that great, insurmountable barrier. It is the greatest and most overwhelming mystery in living existence, and the ultimate equalizer, with no respect for wealth and power.

At death, the billionaire is no better than the beggar, king and peasant; they inhabit a common domain when the grim reaper appears. Death is paradoxically why Christmas is the most joyous time of the year. And this is evidently not understood by the majority of consumers, who see Christmas as an orgy of shopping, eating, drinking, and carousing. ‘’The defeat of death! What a ludicrous assertion,’’ Jack of Bohemia states.

Greatest event in world history

However, over two thousand years ago, and this true Christians believe, the greatest event of all time occurred. This is an occurrence that remains the greatest event in world history: the greatest twist of all time. Science was turned upside down.

This event of events is why Before Christ BC, and after Christ AD, came to be part of the universal lexicon. Christmas is celebrated as the event when the God of this Universe, the creator of time and space, put on the garb of his creation and stepped into time and space, a vulnerable baby in a manger. God – as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- remains a mystery. This God of Christendom spent thirty-three years on earth.

God in Jesus was a living example of human love, kindness, and humility. His violent death, at the hands of the religious authorities of the time appeared to be the end of His life. But in the greatest twist of all time, His death on a wooden Roman cross put to an end the idea of eternal oblivion in a cold grave, and at Easter, His 4 resurrection from that grave, proffered the greatest hope of all time: eternal life, and the hope of reunion with loved ones already passed on. Yes, that is the true meaning of Christmas for a Christian community such as these Virgin Islands has declared.

Remember what Christmas really means

The celebration of the greatest gift ever offered. The celebration of true love: God offering the gift of Himself, through Jesus Christ, for a decaying and dying humanity.

So, as we sit down with loved ones this Christmas Time to feast at the dining table, and open up presents under the Christmas tree let us all make one great effort, to keep at the back of the mind what Christmas really means. Christmas is the celebration of the greatest gift of all time offered to a troubled and dying world by the all-powerful God of Christendom- the Gift of His love. And the words of Jesus Christ ring ever true, especially at this season:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Add to these, the words of the greatest Apostle to the gentile world: Paul of Tarsus – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” Yes, the true meaning of Christmas is love.

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  1. Actually says:

    The first article Igwe wrote in a very long time that makes sense.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
    • Huh! says:

      What is going on – whilst the article is typically pointless there is no racism and no 1970’s student union politics!
      Is really is the season of goodwill!

      Like 5
      Dislike 4
  2. @ Huh! says:

    Sir. madam: there are some in the reading public who are asking you to publish an article, right here on BVI News, explaining your views on “racism.”

    What are your personal feelings on race and racism?

    And lastly, are you sufficiently non-biased enough to do the reading public that favor?

    It would be enlightening to read something uplifting and perhaps even informative from your mind for once.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  3. Message of love says:

    Igwe, good job finally not talking about differences.
    Perhaps you can speak about love more often and try to bring people together.

  4. Quiet Rebel says:

    Traditionally, post Columbus’ wandering at sea towards the west, the West Indies have celebrated December 25, Christmas Day, as the birth of Christ(Jesus). Whether Jesus was born on December 25, April 17, October 13……etc, His birth was significant for mankind (not PC) attaining forgiveness of sin. The birth of Jesus has been hijacked with all the commercial activity. It is about selling and buying stuff more so than celebrating the purpose and humility of His birth. Jesus is the reason for the season. The Jews, Muslims, Kwanza…….etc may have other opinions on and about the birth of Jesus. Christmas should be a solemn occasion and celebration .

    On another note, why are a few people berating Igwe for keeping it real and telling the truth about racism, discrimination, xenophobia……..etc. Igwe should be showered with some love for not burying his head like an ostrich. Though many want to pretend that Slavery was yesterday with no harm, no foul or that racism/discrimination/xenophobia is in the rear view mirror, no, slavery had/has devastating impact on Slaves and their descendants and racism/discrimination/xenophobia is alive and well in the West, East, South and North. Brexit, Brexit, Brexit!

    Some Slave masters descendants like to pretend that physical Slavery was yesterday, they were not alive during slavery, they shouldn’t have any responsibility for Slavery and they didn’t benefit from Slavery. Wrong. The truth is that descendants of Slave masters have special privileges due to their hue that the African diaspora do not have. As the saying goes, if you are White, you are right and if you are Brown, stick around and if you are Black, get back.

    Further, let’s look at that University College of London study on how Slave owners were compensated for the lost of their Slaves ( chattel)/property at Emancipation. Britain earmarked £20M to compensate Slave owners in the Caribbean. Some 3000 Britons, including the family of a recent Prime minister, benefited and are still benefiting from the compensation. While Slaves were kicked to the curb with only rags on their backs, the Slave Masters through the sweat, blood and tears of Slaves walked away with land and other assets. In the US, the descendants of Slaves never got that promised 40 acres and a mule.

    Is it not easy for one to win a 100 meter race, if one start at the 50 meter mark while another starts at the 0 meter mark? What business wouldn’t be successful with free labour. Meh son, merry Christmas!

    • Mad Rebel says:

      A mad and angry rebel on the loose and gone wild this Xmas season spouting truth like a town crier on Sage Mountain. Well, mai boi! Lawd ah mussi mek ah ve enjoy de Xmas nah mon! Lol

    • Guava Berry and Tart says:

      ”Traditionally, post Columbus’ wandering at sea towards the west, the West Indies have celebrated December 25, Christmas Day, as the birth of Christ(Jesus).” Meh son, you mek spill mi glass of guavaberry on mi white shut. Seem like you saying that Columbus got lost and stumbled upon these inhabited islands and didn’t discover then. Dem man hating on Igwe because he is highlighting things that some folks want to keep buried, pretending xenophobia, racism, discrimination…..etc are not occuring and just hoaxes.

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